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John Hickenlooper, Former Colorado Governor, Declares Candidacy for President

Category: Political News,Politics

Gary Hart, the former Colorado senator and Democratic presidential candidate, predicted that Mr. Hickenlooper would appeal to primary voters because “he does not have a lot of pretensions.” But Mr. Hart noted that the candidate would have to harden his stances fast, in order to attract the most passionate party activists in the run-up to the primaries.

“They’re also going to say: ‘Fine, governor, I’m glad you can reach across the aisle, now what’s your stance on abortion?’” Mr. Hart said.

(Mr. Hickenlooper supports abortion rights, though it has not been a central issue for him.)

The former governor will kick off his campaign with a rally in Denver on Thursday, then travel to Iowa on Friday and Saturday.

Mr. Hickenlooper grew up in Narberth, Pa., outside Philadelphia. His father was a floor manager in a steel fabrication plant who died after an extended battle with cancer when Mr. Hickenlooper was 8. His mother, who attended Vassar College on scholarship, raised four children on her own.

Mr. Hickenlooper moved to Colorado in 1981 to work as a geologist in the oil industry. After a layoff, he opened a downtown Denver brewpub, eventually expanding to 15 pubs and restaurants, mostly in the Midwest.

Soon, he was helping to reshape Denver’s dilapidated core. By 2003 he was mayor; in 2007 he won re-election with 87 percent of the vote. During his tenure, Denver expanded pre-K to every 4-year-old in the city.

By 2011, he was governor. In that position, Mr. Hickenlooper pushed through Medicaid expansion under a divided legislature, and signed the gun control package, a major shift for the state. Colorado also gained national attention when Mr. Hickenlooper helped the state establish a national model for recreational marijuana regulation, despite his personal opposition to legalization.

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