Hickenlooper Points To Successes On Economy, Bipartisanship
After four years in office Governor John Hickenlooper is facing the toughest campaign of his political career. A recent poll from The Denver Post shows his race against Republican former Congressman Bob Beauprez statistically tied. What's more, Beauprez is also making gains on Hickenlooper in the Denver metro area and in rural Colorado.
A point of contention between the two candidates in this election has been the economy. According to non-partisan state economists Colorado’s economy is already outpacing the nation’s and is expected to improve, but Hickenlooper said there are still gains to be made.
"Some of the stuff we're working on, we can reach out to the business community, the chambers of commerce, and ask for their partnership and how do we create these better jobs," Hickenlooper said. "If a company is going to hire 10 people next year, are they willing to hire one person who's been out long-term unemployed, out of work for at least 6 or 12 months?"
For Hickenlooper, the difference between the two candidates in this election is a matter of approach.
"You know our style is so different, right? I try to govern from the middle, I want to try to bring people together. I want to hear both sides," Hickenlooper said. "He seems to appreciate more of the bare knuckles brawl and the constant attack and the he said, she said."
In an interview that aired on Morning Edition, Hickenlooper discussed what he would see in a second term if reelected, including plans to prioritize improving the economy and job growth, working with the oil and gas taksforce for compromise legislation on oil and gas regulations, and immigration.
On What's Left Undone
"We continue to focus on jobs. We've gone from 40th in job creation to fourth in the nation. But fourth isn't good enough. We know that there are still a number of long-term unemployed, people who have been out of work for over 12 months. When I got laid off in 1986 after our company got sold, I was out of work for over two years. But after 8 or 10 months, you don't see the same person in the mirror."
On Oil And Gas Regulations And The Compromise Taskforce
"This conflict we have is between someone who owns a house and expects quiet enjoyment and somebody else who owned the mineral rights right beside that house long before the house was even built. Does government have the right to say 'now you can't access those mineral rights?' This commission is going to try to find the way we that we can be fair, but also accountable. Can we drill that well quietly? Can we make sure once the well is drilled that there's not big tanks? There's not an industrial facility there? Getting everybody to sit down at the table is always the foundation of a successful compromise."
"Unlike Congress, Republican Governors and Democratic Governors get along fine. We can work on all manner of things. I honestly think that think, over the next year, we will be able to bring together a coalition of governors and really propose some comprehensive immigration reform that might actually work. That might get through. There's a basic foundation there of making sure we secure the border, that we have an ID system that works, and that we have sufficient penalties for businesses that hire people under the table. There should be consequences. But we also should have a guest worker system, right? We shouldn't just make that decision one state by another; we should figure out on a national level and have that deep discussion."
Editor's Note: We spoke to both candidates in advance of Colorado's 2014 gubernatorial election. You can read more and listen to the interview with Bob Beauprez here.