Government

Hickenlooper: 'It's time to end this crisis of division'

Former Colorado governor and 2020 presidential candidate John Hickenlooper arrives at Backpocket Brewing in Coralville for a campaign event on Friday, April 12, 2019. KC McGinnis for The Gazette
Former Colorado governor and 2020 presidential candidate John Hickenlooper arrives at Backpocket Brewing in Coralville for a campaign event on Friday, April 12, 2019. KC McGinnis for The Gazette
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In a familiar setting at the end of the workday Friday, Democratic presidential hopeful – and former brewery owner – John Hickenlooper shouted over the Backpocket Brewing crowd in Coralville about unity and collaboration and bipartisanship, and the dire need for them.

“I’m running for president because I think we are in a national crisis of division,” said Hickenlooper, who was swinging through Iowa for the second time in the early days of his presidential bid, which he officially launched early last month from his home state of Colorado – where he served as governor from 2011 to 2019.

“I don’t think we’ve been this divided since probably back to the Civil War,” he said. “What Trump has done – it’s seems like he’s almost trying to bankrupt our families by taking apart our health care system.”

That was just one example Hickenlooper cited in his reckoning of President Trump, going on to slam him for “ripping children away from their mothers and then putting them up or adoption.”

“I don’t know what you call that out here,” Hickenlooper said. “In Colorado, we call that kidnapping.”

To an apologetic audience of nodding heads and “Hick” stickers, the former governor laid out his argument for urgency to topple Trump.

“In almost every way, he’s been weakening and ultimately will destroy our democracy,” Hickenlooper said. “I think it’s time to end this crisis of division.”

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During his “meet and greet,” which involved the standard baby kisses and photo ops, Hickenlooper addressed his stance on several key issues – from environmental policy to health care coverage to the economy and even gun regulation and the nation’s mental health crisis.

And he urged the need to address them together with Republicans.

“As a small business person and mayor and governor, to address climate change and health care, we’re going to have to work with both sides of the aisle,” Hickenlooper said. “In Colorado, we got to almost universal health care coverage in a bipartisan fashion.”

The former businessman recalled his early days in downtown Denver, knocking on restaurant doors to collaborate on cost-savings and advertising and community building. And it worked, he said. And continues to work – boasting of his state’s surge to the top of the economic ladder.

“We were 40th in job creation and we’re now the No. 1 state in the country for our economy,” he said, adding a little onto his economic theory.

“I reject the notion that we can just succeed by dividing the pie in a different way,” he said. “I think we’ve got to grow the pie. I think we’re not really going to be able to address these problems without building a bigger pie.”

Hickenlooper went on Friday evening to a meet and greet in West Liberty, and is planning to be in Burlington, Keokuk, and Mt. Pleasant on Saturday.

l Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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