John Hickenlooper is a lifetime entrepreneur who ran as a “dark horse” to become Mayor of Denver in 2003. He led the campaign to pass FasTracks, the largest regional transportation initiative in U.S. history, and helped convince the 34 metro mayors (2/3 Republican) to unanimously support and pass the 0.4% sales tax increase at the ballot. He recruited top managers to his cabinet from business and wherever he could find them. In eight years he had streamlined the total workforce by 7%, the first such reduction in Denver’s history. In 2005 TIME Magazine named him as one of the five top big-city mayors in America. He recently added “author” to his resume with the publication of his forthcoming memoir, The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics.
When he was inaugurated Governor of Colorado in 2011, having run on his history of collaboration for community good, he became the first Denver mayor to be elected governor in 150 years. He also became the first geologist to become a governor in the history of the nation, and the first brewer since Sam Adams in 1792. Again he has recruited talent from all quarters, and is redefining the relationship between a state government and its business and civic communities.
Governor Hickenlooper’s goal is to create the most pro-business state government, but with the highest environmental and ethical standards. His administration has already examined more than 16,000 rules and regulations, and either eliminated or streamlined more than half of them. They have created the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) and provided Advanced Manufacturing Grants to accelerate start-ups and early stage technology businesses. They are building an integrated workforce training system, in conjunction with the Markle Foundation and LinkedIn, that will create a single, seamless continuum for education and workforce preparation, from childhood to old age.
Governor Hickenlooper applied his passion to create good government on a national level as well. His 2015 “Chair’s Initiative” at the National Governors Association, focusing on hiring, appropriate creation and implementation of regulations, and continuous improvement, was a bipartisan success. He is a great believer that governors, far more than Congress, can revive American democracy