“I’ve proven again and again I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver.”

Photo of John Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper

Former governor of Colorado

WITHDRAWN: August 15, 2019

John Hickenlooper (HICK-en-looper) casts himself as an experienced officeholder who can get things done by working with politicians across the aisle. “I’ve proven again and again I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver,” he said in a video announcing his campaign.

Accomplishments: A product of suburban Philadelphia, Hickenlooper earned a geology degree from Wesleyan University and later landed a job as a geologist in Colorado’s oil industry. After getting laid off during the recession, he opened what proved to be a highly successful brewpub in a then-desolate part of downtown Denver. Hickenlooper made his fortune by launching a string of restaurants and bars, before entering local politics in 1999. He served as mayor of Denver from 2003 to 2011, before being catapulted to the Colorado governorship. As governor between 2011 and January 2019, Hickenlooper presided over the state’s economic boom – frequently working in tandem with a Republican-controlled state legislature.

Foreign policy: Hickenlooper has criticized President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. He joined a bipartisan group of governors in 2017 that pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement despite Trump’s withdrawal.

What sets him apart: During his campaigns for governor, he refused to air negative ads, a practice his aides say he will carry into his presidential bid. His upbeat campaigns for governor included a memorable ad in which he walked into a shower fully dressed to scrub off negative attacks.

Platform: Hickenlooper, who calls himself a “pragmatic progressive,” does not support a single-payer “Medicare-for-All” health system but tentatively backs the Green New Deal, a plan by progressives to combat climate change. He worked in 2017 with then-Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican, to seek a compromise over the future of the Affordable Care Act. During Hickenlooper’s time as governor, Colorado expanded health care coverage, legalized marijuana, passed a gun control measure, and adopted California’s low-emission vehicle standards to fight climate change. He also favors education reforms including charter schools and tougher national standards. He would promote many of these measures as president.