It's official. After waffling for several months, John Hickenlooper finally announced on Monday that he's running for president in the next election.
Hickenlooper, 67, is the 14th Democrat to declare a candidacy on what is already a crowded field. In an interview on "Good Morning America," he said the nation is in a "crisis of division" and he differentiates himself by having a "very strong record of bringing people together," such as environmentalists and the oil and gas industry.
"As a skinny kid with coke bottle glasses and a funny last name, I've stood up to my fair share of bullies," he said in his campaign video (below). "Standing tall when it really matters is on of the things that really drives me."
First a geologist, then founder of Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver, Hickenlooper went on to politics. He served as Denver's mayor for eight years and then Colorado's governor for two terms. In 2017, the moderate, pro-business politician was among city and state government teams fighting for Outdoor Retailer's move from Utah to Denver.
Sure enough, they secured a 5-year contract with Emerald Expositions to host the show and bring in an estimated $110 million into the economy here every year. Colorado's outdoor recreation economy generates $28 billion in consumer spending, $2 billion in state and local tax revenue, and 229,000 direct jobs, according to Outdoor Industry Association.
Considered a champion for public lands, Hickenlooper also created Colorado's outdoor recreation office, appointing Luis Benitez, and was named OIA's "Friend of the Outdoor Industry" in 2018.
Ultimate Direction Marketing Manager Craig Randall, based in Boulder, told SNEWS that Hickenlooper stands apart from other nominees because of his support of outdoor industry business. He mentioned Hickenlooper's founding of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, a strategic initiative to position the industry as a legitimate economic driver.
"Other states have followed with their own outdoor rec offices, recognizing not just the dollars' impact but the impact on other values intrinsic to people who recreate outside: health, environmental protection and community-building," Randall said. "In addition to this outdoor industry-oriented endorsement, he has a track record of being successful with economics in general (hello, Denver!) and has been fair-to-good on social issues like healthcare. He is a very welcome nominee!"
Powder7 Owner Jordan Jones met Hickenlooper surrounded by skiers at last year's OR show and is a fan of the Colorado leader.
"I'm excited he is running for president," Jones said. "He's exactly the kind of reasonable moderate who can take on our country's challenges based on facts and not a preconceived ideology. It's the same approach that's good for a growing business. He has the ability to deeply evaluate issues, see both sides of the argument, reach across the aisle, and gain the trust of everyone."
Just down the street from the Colorado Convention Center—OR's new home—Hickenlooper is hosting a kickoff rally at 5 p.m. on Thursday in Civic Center Park.
Also official: Campaign season to oust Trump has begun.