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Hickenlooper Decries Divisive Politics As He Outlines Presidential Campaign Strategy

Mar 8, 2019
Originally published on March 7, 2019 3:20 pm

On the eve of what could be one of the  most important speeches of his political career, former Gov. John Hickenlooper stopped by the Wynkoop Brewing Co. talk to reporters about craft beer, politics and why he thinks he’s the best democrat to take on Donald Trump.

But before he started weighing in on policy positions on the filibuster and Israel’s influence in national politics, Hickenlooper looked around the room and reminisced about the time he was putting in 70 to 80-hour work weeks to start the brewery.

“This is obviously one of my favorite spaces,” he said. “When I first walked into this building in 1987, it was abandoned. Our rent was a dollar a square foot per year. And my partners and I looked at the building, and its spirit is exposed along with the beams and the structure, and we kind of fell in love.”

Hickenlooper said he thought it was important to pay tribute to his background of starting the downtown business as he prepares to campaign for the presidency.

He portrayed himself as a team builder who put his home phone number on the wall of the restaurant so that any employees could call him to talk about issues, even in the evening.

Now Hickenlooper is building a team to help him win the presidency.

Hickenlooper acknowledged it will be a challenge for him to get attention in a crowded field of Democrats vying for the chance to take on President Trump in 2020.

Hickenlooper was the only candidate wearing a name tag at a recent event in Iowa, Politico reported.

Even the satirical news website The Onion is poking fun at him and his relatively low name recogntion. The website declared in a recent headline Hickenlooper announced his support for  “nuking Australia” just to see if anyone was paying attention to him.

But Hickenlooper thinks his record of working with Republicans and Democrats at the state Capitol on such things as health care policy will help him stand out in a field that could soon include former Vice President Joe Biden.

“I think voters are very interested in exploring the candidacy of someone who has a consistent track record of bringing people together, getting them to put down their weapons and get things done,” Hickenlooper said. “My hope is as we do better in Iowa, do better in New Hampshire, do better in South Carolina, the media will say ‘huh, this is interesting, maybe America does care about actual progress and is less concerned about labels and attacks.’”

After he rallies with a hometown crowd at Civic Center Park on Thursday evening, Hickenlooper will travel to Iowa for a series of campaign events.

Capitol Coverage is a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Eleven public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.

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