Will a Main Liner finally become president of the United States? Narberth native and former governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper certainly hopes so.
On Monday, Hickenlooper, 67, announced his presidential campaign with a video released on his YouTube channel, during which he touts his achievements as a two-term moderate Democrat governor and criticizes the current administration. “I’m running for president because we’re facing a crisis that threatens everything we hold dear,” he says at one point over footage of a speech by President Donald Trump.
Hickenlooper goes on to highlight achievements from his time as governor, including expanding healthcare coverage, enacting legislation requiring universal background checks for gun sales and legalizing recreational marijuana (a move that he initially opposed).
Hickenlooper was born in 1952 in Narberth, and went on to graduate from the Haverford School in 1970. During his time at Haverford, he played baseball and soccer, but never ran for student council.
In a 2017 interview, Hickenlooper’s former Haverford classmate John Horan described the presidential candidate as shy when they were in school together. “If you took a poll our senior year of which guy in the class was going to be a successful politician, I don’t think many of us would have picked John,” Horan said.
Still, Hickenlooper went on to a fruitful political career. A fixture in the Colorado political scene since the early 2000s, he served as mayor of Denver from 2003 to 2011 before taking office as the state’s governor, a position he held until his second term ended earlier this year.
Hickenlooper graduated with a master’s degree in geology from Wesleyan University. After being laid off by an oil company in the 1980s, he decided to try another industry, founding Wynkoop Brewery with three other partners in 1988. It was the first new brewery in Denver since the end of the Prohibition era—and it’s still open today.
Hickenlooper has joined a crowded Democratic primary race, with 14 candidates hoping to challenge Trump in 2020.
Click here to read our February 2017 interview with Hickenlooper.