Government

John Hickenlooper urges unity in series of Iowa campaign stops

Presidential candidate John Hickenlooper speaks with Dennis Evans during a stop at the Octopus Bar in Cedar Falls on Saturday afternoon.
Presidential candidate John Hickenlooper speaks with Dennis Evans during a stop at the Octopus Bar in Cedar Falls on Saturday afternoon.

CEDAR FALLS — Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper painted himself as a consensus builder during stops across Iowa this weekend.

Hickenlooper made a brief stop Saturday at the Octopus in Cedar Falls as part of his first visit to Iowa since announcing his bid Monday for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. He also is set to stop Saturday evening at the Quarter Barrel Arcade & Brewery in Cedar Rapids.

“I know I can beat Donald Trump,” Hickenlooper said in Cedar Falls. “But more importantly I think I can bring us together on the other side.”

Hickenlooper was traveling between campaign stops in Charles City and Dubuque on Saturday when he visited the Cedar Falls bar to encourage voters to elect fellow Democrat Eric Giddens in the upcoming Iowa Senate District 30 special election.

The 67-year-old, who served as Denver mayor for eight years and wrapped up eight years as Colorado governor in January, took time to shake a few hands, grab a bag of popcorn and visit briefly with reporters.

Hickenlooper said he thinks voters will relate to his experience building bridges between groups from different political backgrounds to solve problems.

“The one thing I’ve shown again and again is I can get people to come together and get stuff done,” he said.

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“I think that’s the part Iowans will respond to, because Iowans are pragmatic,” he added. “They understand you may disagree about something but you’ve got to get a compromise and move things forward.”

Hickenlooper was an entrepreneur who opened brewpubs and restaurants in Colorado and the Midwest before being elected as Denver’s mayor in 2003. He won two terms as governor before stepping down because of Colorado’s term limits.

He joins a crowded field of Democratic hopefuls including Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Sens. Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former Rep. John Delaney, ex-San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang.

“Most of the other candidates haven’t been in executive positions like I have,” Hickenlooper said. “The president of the United States is the biggest executive position there is.”

During his Iowa stops so far, Hickenlooper said he has sensed voters are eager for politicians to begin addressing major concerns, such as the spiraling cost of health care, lack of universal coverage and climate change.

“I think there’s a lot of recognition that we need a sense of urgency with some of the challenges we’re facing,” he said. “We’ve got to come together.”

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