Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has experience as an entrepreneur, CEO, and mayor. Now, he's hoping to add U.S. president to his résumé.
Hickenlooper announced his intent to run for president in 2020 via a video Monday that touts his business background and highlights some of his political achievements. Hickenlooper's entrepreneurial experience dates back to 1988, when he co-founded the Wynkoop Brewing Company, Denver's first brewpub. After launching several similar brewpubs across the U.S., he was elected mayor of Denver in 2003, winning reelection in 2007. In 2011, he became Colorado's governor, where he remained until January 2019.
"I'm running for president because we need dreamers in Washington," Hickenlooper says in the video announcing his campaign. "But we also need to get things done."
Here's what he's done for small businesses as both an entrepreneur and politician.
Learning business from the ground up
In the 1980s, after being laid off from his job at a petroleum company, Hickenlooper decided to start his own venture. He didn't know much about running a business, so he hit the library and learned how to write a business plan. Before launching the Wynkoop Brewing Company, Hickenlooper and his co-founders were rejected by 32 different lenders. They eventually expanded Wynkoop to 15 locations, which are mainly in the Midwest.
Helping grow Colorado businesses
As governor, one of Hickenlooper's goals was making Colorado one of the most pro-business states while maintaining high ethical standards. In an effort to reduce red tape for entrepreneurs, his administration reviewed nearly 25,000 business regulations and culled or streamlined around 11,000. The changes cut about 2.3 million hours of unnecessary work per year and eliminated $8 million in hard costs, Hickenlooper told The Denver Post.
Advancing legal marijuana
One of Hickenlooper's most well-known accomplishments as governor was working with Republicans to enact legislation legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado, even though he personally opposed the measure. "The voters have spoken, and we have to respect their will," Hickenlooper said in 2012. Between 2014 and 2017, recreational marijuana sales in Denver reached more than $1 billion.
Hickenlooper will hold a rally in Denver on Thursday, March 7, to kick off his campaign.