John Wright Hickenlooper (born February 7, 1952) is an American politician and 42th Governor of Colorado. A Democrat, he was previously the Mayor of Denver, Colorado from 2003 to 2011.
Hickenlooper was born in Narberth, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia, part of the suburban Main Line. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University where he received a B.A. in English in 1974 and a master’s degree in geology in 1980. Before becoming mayor in June 2003 he was a geologist turned entrepreneur. He is often considered a prominent figure in the LoDo urban renewal period during the early 1990s. Hickenlooper owned several restaurants in LoDo in the late 1980s, before the area's renewal. He was one of the founders of the original Wynkoop Brewing Company microbrewery; these and others companies contributed to the redevelopment of the area following the arrival of major league baseball in the neighborhood. The area had been known to be dangerous; Hickenlooper is quoted as saying, "I must've had rocks in my head." The rent for Wynkoop's real estate was $1 per square foot per year.
Mayor of denver
Hickenlooper's first tasks included handling the city's budget crisis and changing its career personnel system. He has appointed a relatively young crew of appointees to his cabinet. In April 2005, Hickenlooper was named one of the top 5 big-city mayors in America by Time Magazine. Mayor Hickenlooper is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino. Hickenlooper resigned as mayor at 8am on January 11th, 2011, hours before being inaugurated as Colorado's Governor. Although municipal elections in Denver are nonpartisan, Hickenlooper is a Democrat. Hickenlooper won re-election for the office of Mayor in May 2007 with 87% of the vote.
2006 Colorado gubernatorial race
Hickenlooper was viewed as a possible contender for Governor of Colorado in the November 2006 election to replace term-limited Republican Governor Bill Owens. Despite a "Draft Hick" campaign, he officially announced on February 6, 2006 that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for governor. Later, he threw his support behind Democrat Bill Ritter, Denver's former District Attorney who was later elected.
2008 Democratic National Convention
Hickenlooper was an executive member of the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee and helped lead the successful campaign for Denver to host the landmark 2008 Democratic National Convention, which was also the centennial anniversary of the city's hosting of the 1908 Democratic National Convention. In a controversial move decried by critics as breaching partisan ethics, the Hickenlooper administration arranged for the DNC host committee members, a private non-profit organization, to get untaxed fuel from Denver city-owned pumps, saving them $0.404 per gallon of fuel.
2008 Senate seat appointment
According to The Denver Post, he was considered to be the frontrunner to fill the United States Senate seat to be vacated by Ken Salazar upon his expected confirmation to be Secretary of the Interior in the Obama Administration. Hickenlooper had confirmed his interest in the seat. However, on January 3, 2009, Gov. Bill Ritter appointed Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet to the position. Bennet previously served as Chief of Staff to Mayor Hickenlooper.
2010 Colorado gubernatorial race
After Governor Ritter announced on January 6, 2010 that he would step down at the end of his term, Hickenlooper was cited as a potential candidate for state governor.Hickenlooper stated that if Secretary Salazar mounted a bid for governor, he would likely not challenge him in a Democratic primary.On January 7, 2010, Salazar confirmed that he would not be running for governor in 2010 and endorsed Hickenlooper for the position.On January 12, 2010, media outlets reported that Hickenlooper would begin a campaign for Colorado governor.On August 5, 2010, Hickenlooper selected CSU-Pueblo president Joseph A. Garcia as his running mate.On November 2nd, 2010, at 8:46 MST CNN projected that Hickenlooper would be the next Governor of Colorado.
Hickenlooper's wife, Helen Thorpe, is a writer whose work has been published in The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, George, and Texas Monthly. They currently live in Denver's Park Hill neighborhood with their son, Teddy.Hickenlooper told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he and Thorpe attend Quaker meetings and try to live by Quaker values. A cousin, George Hickenlooper, was an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker. John made a cameo appearance in George's 2010 film Casino Jack. Other relatives include Olga Hickenlooper (a.k.a. Olga Samaroff), a concert pianist who was the first wife of conductor Leopold Stokowski, and Bourke Hickenlooper, who served as a governor of and senator for Iowa.
May 9th, 2011