Q&A with John Hickenlooper, candidate for U.S. Senate

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Party: Democratic

Residence: Denver

Campaign website: hickenlooper.com

What makes you the best choice for this office?

As a former governor and mayor, I know what it takes to unite people and lead through crises. When I became governor during the Great Recession, we were 40th in job creation, and we worked with local officials and leaders across the state to make Colorado the top economy in the nation. I have a record of bringing folks together across the aisle to make progress on what really matters, from groundbreaking anti-pollution measures to expanding health care to (more) Coloradans. As senator, I’ll do what I did in Colorado: work to unite people … and build back better after COVID-19.

If you’re elected, what single issue will be at the top of your agenda?

My No. 1 priority in the Senate will be helping Coloradans weather the COVID-19 crisis and emerge stronger on the other side. First and foremost, we’ll deliver urgent aid to families and the smallest small businesses. At the same time, we’ll kickstart long-term growth by ending corporate giveaways and investing instead in workers, skills training and the industries of the future. If we roll up our sleeves and come together, we can not only survive this crisis but build an even stronger economy that works for every Coloradan.

If you’re elected, what must you accomplish in order for you to consider your term a success?

We must protect Coloradans’ health care coverage, including for those with preexisting conditions. We must take action to bring down the cost of health care, including lower prescription drug prices. And we must act urgently to combat the threat of climate change. I know that it takes unity to overcome crises. As a brewpub owner, I understand what small businesses need to recover and thrive post-COVID-19 … as a Coloradan, I feel the frustration of having leadership in Washington that would rather argue than get things done for us ... We’ll only succeed by doing things differently.

Colorado lags behind other states in education spending, with more than 30 states, including many in the West, spending more per pupil, according to U.S. Census data. What should Colorado’s senators do to ensure states such as Colorado can spend more to support students?

Education is the best investment we can make in our kids and our future — but right now, we’re not investing enough. We must invest in every aspect … from educators to electives, with an emphasis on underserved students through the Title I program. We must do what I did as mayor of Denver and work toward universal preschool. And we must increase college affordability and expand pathways to skills training. Alongside groups of dedicated educators like Colorado Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers — whose endorsements I’m honored to have received — we’ll build thriving, equitable public schools.

As Colorado housing prices continue to climb, how can senators increase the supply of affordable housing, or ensure that more of the current housing stock is affordable?

Affordable housing is a fundamental necessity, and it should be within reach for every Colorado family. If elected, I will push for inclusion of affordable housing in any major infrastructure package we consider, ensure all new federal housing units meet accessibility guidelines for individuals with disabilities, and hold lenders accountable for discrimination and predatory housing loans. I’ll also work to end disparities due to decades of racist, segregationist housing policy by expanding the low-income housing tax credit and ensuring compliance with the 1968 Fair Housing Act. These steps can ensure every family has a place to call home.

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