Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is vying for a spot as one of the state's US Senators. Hickenlooper, who served two terms as governor, is a brewery owner who turned political with his run for Denver Mayor in 2003.
What do you feel is the best way for the federal government to handle COVID-19?
Hickenlooper: This crisis has underscored how dysfunctional Washington is. At a time when people are struggling to make their rent and mortgage payments, put food on the table, and pay the bills, Washington has not only failed to extend COVID relief, but the Senate took a month-long vacation until Labor Day. You’ve gotta be kidding me!
A crisis is no time for a vacation. When I was a small business owner, Mayor of Denver, or Governor of Colorado, we faced wildfires, floods, shootings, and the Great Recession. We rolled up our sleeves and got to work to help our communities heal, build back better, and after the Great Recession take Colorado’s economy from 40th in job creation to the number one economy in the country.
Washington needs to show the same kind of leadership and immediately get back to work to ensure everyone who needs a COVID-19 test can get one, extend unemployment insurance, get schools the resources they need to safely reopen, and deliver relief to struggling small businesses. Instead of attacking health care, Senator Cory Gardner and Donald Trump should be listening to the science and public health experts.
If elected, how can you help the Senate get past partisan gridlock?
Washington is a mess. Why aren’t they doing anything to lower prescription drug costs? Where’s help for the small businesses and entrepreneurs who are the heartbeat of Colorado’s economy? Why did they take a month-long vacation instead of passing desperately needed relief for millions of struggling families? Cory Gardner is the biggest recipient of corporate PAC donations in Colorado Senate history, and this gridlock clearly shows he puts their interests before regular Coloradans.
I’m running for Senate because I know we need a change. This is a time for people who know how to do things differently. Throughout my career, I’ve brought people together to get things done, whether bringing together the mayors of the Denver Metro area to build one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the country, or expanding health care to 500,000 Coloradans with bipartisan support. That leadership is what’s missing from Washington and exactly what I’ll bring to the Senate to solve our biggest challenges.
What are the biggest issues facing Colorado as a state that must be solved at the Senate level?
The number one issue I hear about on the campaign trail is health care. Prescription drug prices and premium costs are skyrocketing and hurting families. Cory Gardner and Mitch McConnell have done nothing to address that problem, and are actively trying to throw people off of their health care and gut protections for pre-existing conditions -- in the middle of a pandemic! The coronavirus pandemic has made it more clear than ever the need for universal coverage so no one is shouldered with thousands of dollars for a COVID-19 test, or worried about going bankrupt if they do get sick. Here in Colorado, we brought people together to expand access to quality, affordable health care to 500,000 Coloradans.
We need to keep building on that progress.
When I visited with the first responders battling the Pine Gulch wildfire last week, I was reminded of the existential threat posed by climate change. Climate change is the defining challenge of our time, and our state is on the front lines of this crisis, with shorter winters, catastrophic floods and wildfires, and continued air pollution. As Governor, I stood up to President Trump, and committed Colorado to upholding the Paris Agreement even when he withdrew from it, and I passed “gold standard” rules to curb methane emissions, which Trump and Gardner are trying to undo. Colorado is leading on this issue, but we need more from Washington than these destructive attacks on our environment. We must do more -- and we can create good-paying renewable energy jobs along the way. Our planet’s health, economic well-being, and national security are all at risk. It is imperative that we address the climate challenges we face with a fierce sense of urgency — human lives and livelihoods are at stake.