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Colorado's John Hickenlooper is running for president — here's where the Democrat stands on key business issues

Key Points
  • Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper launches a Democratic presidential campaign. 
  • Hickenlooper, largely seen as a centrist, has cast himself as a pro-business official who has still pushed to address key liberal priorities such as climate change and gun control. 
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
F. Carter Smith | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Presidential candidate John Hickenlooper has long cast himself as a pro-business Democrat.

The former Colorado governor hopes he can strike a balance between pushing for liberal policy goals and stressing the importance of job growth as he tries to defeat President Donald Trump next year.

Hickenlooper, who served two terms as governor from 2011 until January, launched his presidential bid on Monday. In a video accompanying his campaign launch, he pointed to accomplishments on liberal priorities such as fighting climate change and tightening gun laws.

But the 67-year-old ex-governor, often seen as a centrist, made sure to note his efforts to work with companies and promote business in the state. Here's where Hickenlooper, the owner of a Denver brewpub, stands on some key business issues:

  • Energy/climate change: In a video launching his campaign, Hickenlooper said he "brought environmentalists and oil and gas companies together" to limit methane emissions to combat climate change. During the governor's tenure in 2014, Colorado was the first U.S. state to cap methane emissions from oil and gas operations, according to The Denver Post.

    In 2017, he joined a group of states pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with Paris climate accords even after Trump withdrew from the landmark agreement. The business community has largely supported the Paris accords. Though he worked to tighten some rules, Hickenlooper has touted efforts to trim or streamline regulations during his tenure to promote business, the Post reported.
  • Minimum wage: Hickenlooper backed a 2016 ballot measure to raise Colorado's minimum wage to $12 per hour. That pay floor, higher than the $7.25 per hour federal level, will take effect in January 2020. The former governor's campaign says he supports a $15 per hour minimum wage, which Democratic leaders in the House and Senate and many of his Democratic primary rivals have endorsed.
  • Taxes: Hickenlooper criticized the Republican tax bill passed in December 2017 and pushed his state's members of Congress to vote against it, according to a local news report. He criticized the projected $1.5 trillion in budget deficits generated by tax cuts and a provision getting rid of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, which required the vast majority of Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

    In his final budget proposed in 2018, Hickenlooper floated expanded tax credits for child care and education.
  • Health care: The former governor says he wants to see the U.S. have universal health coverage eventually. But Hickenlooper does not support a "Medicare-for-all" plan endorsed by many of his Democratic opponents. In New Hampshire earlier this month, he rejected "the notion that it should become a litmus test of what it takes to be a good Democrat," according to The Associated Press. 

    In 2017, he teamed with Ohio's Republican centrist former GOP Gov. John Kasich on a health care proposal. The plan would keep the individual mandate to encourage healthy people to buy insurance and keep costs down, while pushing to maintain subsidies and other cost-control efforts that the Trump administration has jeopardized.
  • Gun control: In his video, Hickenlooper highlights his role in Colorado passing laws requiring background checks for all gun purchases and limiting the size of magazines.

Running against several candidates who have fully embraced a brand of liberal populism, Hickenlooper sees a lane to cast himself as a pragmatist. In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday, he cast himself as a candidate who can cooperate with Republicans.

"I believe that not only can I beat Donald Trump, but that I am the person that can bring people together on the other side and actually get stuff done," he told the network.

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