B.A. in English, Wesleyan University; M.S. in Geology, Wesleyan University
KEY HEALTH LINK
Hickenlooper lives with prosopagnosia, commonly known as “face blindness.” His father died of cancer.
Mayor of Denver, 2003-2011; Governor of Colorado, 2011-2019
2020 ELECTION CONTEXT
After announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in Colorado, Hickenlooper faced off against Andrew Romanoff, the former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, in the Democratic primary. After winning the primary election, Hickenlooper went on to challenge incumbent Republican Senator Cory Gardner in his first reelection campaign.
Cory Gardner (R) (defeated)
MOST RECENT PROFESSION
Governor of Colorado
Hickenlooper started his career as a geologist and founded a brewpub in Denver after being laid off in 1986. He was elected mayor of Denver in 2003. He served as mayor until 2011, when he resigned shortly before being inaugurated as governor of Colorado. He served as governor until 2019, and served as chair of the National Governors Association from 2014 to 2015. In 2019, Hickenlooper announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in the 2020 election. He suspended his campaign in August 2019, and announced his senate candidacy shortly thereafter.
On The Issues
Hickenlooper supports efforts to curb the pandemic, including "testing, contact tracing, social distancing, wearing masks, and providing PPE to first responders and essential workers." In addition, he supports increasing the federal share of Medicaid spending to 12% to fund these efforts. He also intends to "shore up our long-term preparedness by supporting pandemic research efforts, global health funding, and engagement with international bodies such as the World Health Organization."
Hickenlooper supports the ACA public option and endorses universal coverage.
Hickenlooper did not support Colorado Amendment 64 in 2012, which passed with over 55% of the vote and legalized recreational marijuana use for adults in Colorado. Despite his lack of support for the amendment, he carried out the will of the voters by signing the legalization of marijuana. As Governor, he signed into law bills that would assist farmers in cannabis production, allow marijuana businesses to work with banks in Colorado, and create testing infrastructure for cannabis products. He has since stated that his worst fears regarding legalization “have not come to pass.” In his run for President, Hickenlooper stated that he would sign legislation to federally decriminalize marijuana.
MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION
As Senator, Hickenlooper intends to work to expand access to mental health services. Specifically, he has committed to funding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, supporting community-led efforts to end the stigma associated with seeking help, and investing in telehealth for counseling.
Hickenlooper supports expanding resources available to those struggling with opioid addiction. As Governor in 2013, he signed a bill requiring substance misuse treatment to be included in individual and group coverage plans. In the Senate, he intends to scale up Colorado's best practices, such as improved access to naloxone treatment, research into alternative pain management therapies, supporting medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and updating prescribing guidelines.
As Senator, Hickenlooper intends to work to reduce prescription drug costs by "allowing Medicare to negotiate prices directly with drug companies; permitting the importation of safe medicine from Canada; requiring more transparency in drug pricing and curtailing significant increases in the price of both generic and specialty drugs; and investigating potential anti-competitive practices in the pharmaceutical industry. "
VETERANS HEALTH CARE
As Senator, Hickenlooper intends to "be an advocate for our nation’s Veterans, working to ensure we provide programmatic support commensurate with their sacrifice."
Hickenlooper is pro-choice. As Senator, he pledges to "protect the right to choose, fully fund critical government programs for reproductive health such as Title X, and work to reduce racial disparities across the spectrum of reproductive care." He has been endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund as well as NARAL Pro-Choice America.
OTHER HEALTH CARE ISSUES
Hickenlooper supports work to end surprise medical billing, increased federal funding for rural hospitals, advocating for improved coverage for Americans with disabilities, increased funding for research institutions such as NIH and the CDC, and improved access to telemedicine.
DID YOU KNOW?
Hickenlooper’s father was friends with American author Kurt Vonnegut. Hickenlooper’s father died of cancer when his son was 8 years old, but when Hickenlooper met his father’s friend, Vonnegut told the younger man, “Be very careful who you pretend to be, because that’s who you’re going to be.” Hickenlooper appeared in Vonnegut’s 1997 novel, “Timequake.” In a 2004 roast of Hickenlooper when he was mayor of Denver, Vonnegut joked in a video that he was Hickenlooper’s real father.