Who is John Hickenlooper? Bio, age, family, key positions

Who is John Hickenlooper?

Current job: 2020 presidential candidate.

Age: 67.

Family: Hickenlooper has been married to digital news executive Robin Pringle since 2016, and has a 16-year-old son named Teddy, with his first wife Helen Thorpe.

Hometown: Narberth, Pennsylvania.

Political party: Democratic.

Previous jobs: Governor of Colorado 2011-2019, mayor of Denver 2004-2010, restaurant entrepreneur and executive, field geologist.

Who is John Hickenlooper’s direct competition for the nomination?

Based on a recurring series of national surveys we conduct, we can figure out who the other candidates competing in John Hickenlooper’s lane are, and who the broader opponents are within the party.

  • Only about 16 percent of the respondents who were registered to vote and indicated they’d participate in the Democratic primary said they were familiar with Hickenlooper, and only a quarter of those said they’d be satisfied in the event he was the nominee.

Business Insider

  • Given we only have 120 respondents who’d be satisfied with his win, it’s premature to draw too many conclusions as to where his support is coming from.
  • In general, the non-Sanders Democratic rivals that perform best overall — Harris, Biden, Booker and Warren — have the broadest overlaps with Hickenlooper. Still, these figures are very liable to shift.

INSIDER has been conducting a recurring poll through SurveyMonkey Audience on a national sample to find out how different candidate’s constituencies overlap. We ask people whether they are familiar with a candidate, whether they would be satisfied or unsatisfied with that candidate as nominee, and sometimes we also ask whether they think that person would win or lose in a general election against President Donald Trump.

Read more about how we’re polling this here.

What are John Hickenlooper’s policy positions?

  • On healthcare:
    • While Hickenlooper does not support Medicare for All or the elimination of private health insurance, he wants to achieve universal healthcare coverage in the US.
    • During his time as Colorado’s governor, he created a healthcare exchange and expanded Medicaid in the state to bring Colorado’s coverage rate up to nearly 95%.
    • He recently told New York magazine he supports a public option to allow people to buy into programs like Medicare at a price they can afford.
  • On immigration:
    • Hickenlooper supports DACA, and opposed a Trump administration rule that would bar immigrants from accessing social services.
    • Last year, he also signed an order prohibiting any state resources, including from the Colorado National Guard, from participating in the enforcement of the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy.
  • On climate change:
    • Hickenlooper recently came out in opposition to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s version of the Green New Deal in a Washington Post op-ed, but said that climate change would be a major priority for his administration.
    • “The Ocasio-Cortez-Markey resolution sets the Green New Deal up for failure by shifting away from private decision-making and toward the public sector,” he argued, saying his Green New Deal would include federal government investment and significant collaboration with private industry.
    • As governor of Colorado, Hickenlooper paved the way for oil and gas companies to frack in the state. But he also enacted innovative regulations on methane emissions and low-emissions vehicles and expanded jobs in clean energy.
  • On campaign finance/election reform:
    • As Governor, Hickenlooper signed legislation that gave campaigns opportunities to fix unintentional mistakes in their paperwork without being fined and made voting easier for military service members.
  • On abortion:
    • Hickenlooper is pro-choice, and supports Planned Parenthood.
    • “Government has no business making medical decisions for women and families. Rather, we should make sure everyone has access to affordable, high-quality healthcare,” Hickenlooper recently tweeted. “THAT should be our north star… not restricting women from making their own choices about their bodies and lives.”
  • On LGBTQ rights:
  • On education:
    • As Denver’s mayor, Hickenlooper created a scholarship fund that enables high-achieving, low-income graduates of Denver public schools to attend college.
    • After cutting Colorado’s education budget during the Great Recession, Hickenlooper pushed for an ultimately unsuccessful property tax increase to fund Colorado schools.
  • On guns:
    • Following the 2012 mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, Hickenlooper signed gun control legislation that enacted universal background checks and banned high-capacity magazines.
  • On criminal justice reform:
    • Under Hickenlooper’s leadership, Colorado oversaw the legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana — the first state to do so.
    • Hickenlooper now believes marijuana should be decriminalized at the federal level, and the question of legalization left up to the states.
    • He also changed his position on the death penalty while governor. “My whole life I was in favor of the death penalty … but then you get all this information: it costs 10 times, maybe 15 times more money to execute someone than to put someone in prison for life without parole. There’s no deterrents to having capital punishment,” he said in 2014.
  • On trade:
    • Hickenlooper is strongly supportive of free trade and is opposed to President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China and European Union nations.
    • He and former Ohio Governor John Kasich wrote a letter to the US’ trade representative last year urging the administration to cease its trade war with China.
    • “We strongly urge our negotiators to address these opportunities without closing markets, imposing tariffs or enacting government regulations that threaten to negatively affect our manufacturers and agricultural producers,” they wrote.
  • On foreign policy:
  • On taxes:
    • Hickenlooper opposed the Republican party’s $1 trillion tax cut legislation signed into law last year.
    • While Hickenlooper is a fiscally prudent leader, he did propose modest tax increases during his time as governor to fund education and infrastructure projects, both of which were rejected by the voters.
  • On jobs and the economy:
  • On technology:

What are John Hickenlooper’s political successes?

  • Hickenlooper defied the odds by getting elected as a Democrat in a purple state during two Republican wave years in 2010 and 2014.
  • During Hickenlooper’s tenure as governor, Colorado went from being ranked 40th in job creation nationwide to being ranked 4th, and its unemployment rate fell from 9% to 3% by the time he left office.
  • Hickenlooper cites his greatest strength as being able to bring together opposing interests and coalitions. As governor, he brokered deals on contentious issues like the state budget, gun control, environmental regulations, and healthcare.

How much money has John Hickenlooper raised?

While presidential candidates have until April 15 to file their next quarterly fundraising reports, Hickenlooper reported raising $1 million in the first 48 hours after announcing the launch of his campaign on March 4.

Could John Hickenlooper beat President Trump?

Referring back to INSIDER’s recurring poll, Hickenlooper overall is believed to be a somewhat weaker candidate in a general election against Donald Trump compared to the whole field.

Based on responses from Democratic primary voters, for a typical candidate surveyed 36% of respondents think they’d win, 9% think they’d lose, and 55% are unsure.

Among Democrats, Hickenlooper is fairly obscure at this early stage, and even those roughly 240 respondents who know of him are very uncertain about his ability to beat Trump: 21% think he’d win, 8% think he’d lose, and 71% are unsure.

Read more of our stories on John Hickenlooper:


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