“Hickenlooper will show up”
Today, the Aspen Daily News became the 13th newspaper in the state to announce its support for John Hickenlooper’s campaign for United States Senate, citing his “character and moral compass” as well as his commitment to health care as a right.
Meanwhile, the Aspen Daily News is also the latest newspaper Senator Cory Gardner has refused to even sit down with: “despite several requests for an interview, the only correspondence we received from the Gardner campaign was to direct us to another campaign staffer.”
Hickenlooper has received support from 13 editorial boards in every corner of the state: The Denver Post, The Colorado Sentinel, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, The Durango Herald, The Greeley Tribune, The Pueblo Chieftain, The Boulder Daily Camera, El Semanario, The Vail Daily, The Crested Butte News, Colorado Springs Indy, and Boulder Weekly. Four of these papers had previously backed Gardner.
Earlier today, Hickenlooper launched a new television ad, “Better Choice,” featuring newspaper endorsements from across the state.
Read the endorsement HERE or below:
The choice between Gov. John Hickenlooper and incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner was a relatively easy one for the Aspen Daily News editorial board precisely because of the lack of choice presented — despite several requests for an interview, the only correspondence we received from the Gardner campaign was to direct us to another campaign staffer.
Hickenlooper, on the other hand, made himself available with days’ notice, despite mere weeks before the Nov. 3 election and the intensified campaign schedules that accompany the final stretch before ballots must be received.
Additionally, while not every one of Hickenlooper’s stances throughout his political career have aligned with every board member’s policy preferences, his character and moral compass does. Specifically, we do not agree with his early-stage waffling on decriminalizing marijuana — and, perhaps more importantly, re-examining imprisoning low-level, nonviolent drug offenders — but Hickenlooper is now the only senate candidate with a dedicated “marijuana” page on his website amid primary issues.
There, he outlines his current stance, which chastises the federal government’s continued classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, coming at that criticism from both a pro-business perspective — he acknowledges how the tax code penalizes entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry — and a reformist one, citing the disproportionate levels at which black men are imprisoned for nonviolent drug crimes.
We applaud Hickenlooper’s ability to change his mind.
And during his interview Friday with our editorial board, Hickenlooper allowed that he “wrestled” with his eventual support of Proposition 118, which would establish a paid family and medical leave benefit for most Colorado workers, allowing up to 12 weeks of paid leave. That would include seasonal and gig workers, from whom much of the Western Slope economic drivers come. Hickenlooper, when asked about his support for the measure and whether Colorado’s joining eight other states in implementing a solvent family-leave program could — like the Centennial State’s being an early adopter of decriminalizing marijuana — serve as a policy domino nationwide, he said his initial hesitation came from the business owner’s perspective. The employer, after all, will be shouldering much of that cost burden.
But, he continued, in looking at research from other nations with work cultures that include extensive paid and sick leave for workers, the evidence paints a clear picture: by offering that security, both the quality and efficiency of employee output actually increases.
Again, we applaud Hickenlooper’s willingness to consider myriad perspectives and do the research to form an evidence-based opinion on policy. We hope he will similarly lean on his early-career experience as a geologist to continue relying on science when presented with questions about mineral extraction, navigating next waves of COVID-19 and climate trends, as water rights and wildfires will no doubt continue to dominate future headlines.
We came away from our interview with Hickenlooper confident that we’d spoken with a man who views health care as a right — and values a “sliding-scale public option” to fund it — small business as essential and who is fair — and open-minded in his approach to more detailed policy issues. Most importantly, the aspiring Senator is open to a conversation. We can’t say the same for his opponent.