Hickenlooper: Colorado must continue on its own path

A somewhat pensive Gov. John Hickenlooper sat down with members of the media today to reflect on Tuesday’s election, discussing what it portends for Colorado and how the president-elect might impact some major issues around the state.

It was a long, bitterly divisive election season, which Hickenlooper likened to the Hatfield-McCoy feud of the 19th century. Hickenlooper recited at length from President Abraham Lincoln, who won one of the “dirtiest elections” in the midst of the Civil War. Shortly after his reelection, Lincoln wrote that “While I am deeply sensible to the high compliment of a re-election, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be pained or disappointed by the result. May I ask those who were with me to join with me in the same spirit toward those who were against me?”

The governor also recalled Lincoln’s statement that “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” saying that Colorado “has always embraced that sentiment. In some ways, it actually defines us.”

Hickenlooper cited health care, specifically the Affordable Care Act (ACA); the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and public lands as the three main areas of concern for Colorado under Republican President-elect Donald Trump.

Hickenlooper’s biggest concern around the Affordable Care Act is what will happen to people with pre-existing health conditions. The ACA mandated that health insurance companies cover those people, but if it is repealed in its entirety, that mandate ends. Republicans in Congress voted 50 times to repeal the Act and Trump said today he planned to “fix” it, without saying how.

“Everybody should have basic health care, that is a right to all people,” Hickenlooper said, but acknowledged that is not a view shared by Republicans. “I don’t think Democrats will walk away from” wanting to see healthcare available to everyone, he said.

The EPA is another issue that concerns the governor, who commented that while he expects Trump to repeal the Clean Power Plan, that will not change what happens in Colorado. “We’ve been careful to say our Clean Power Plan is independent of anything” that came from the EPA. He also said he believes the EPA could pull back on methane regulations, but vowed that that will not happen here.

Hickenlooper noted that Coloradans believe their public lands should be protected, although he indicated that those lands could be made more available for commerce and industry and perhaps sold off. “Those lands should not be put up for auction,” he said.

“I’m always the optimist. I hope that on each of these issues we get to a place where we can work well with the new cabinet members and the president-elect.”

Hickenlooper also explained why he thought Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton lost the election. He put much of the blame on Wikileaks and an 11th-hour letter from FBI Director James Comey regarding a new batch of emails discovered on one her aide’s computers that was later found to be of no consequence. There’s never been FBI intrusion into an election before, Hickenlooper commented.

But Clinton also doesn’t come across well on TV, Hickenlooper said. He said that he’s spent a lot of time with the former Secretary of State, and that how she comes across is not the way she is in real life. But people didn’t trust her, the media didn’t trust her and she doesn’t trust the media, he added. “The breaks went against her.”

Then why did she win Colorado? Hickenlooper said he believed it was because of Colorado’s family values and that Trump, while a forceful personality, is also a “crude one.”

And in a message to Colorado children, some of whom reportedly are frightened of the president-elect, Hickenlooper pointed out that his own son, Teddy, saw kids crying in the halls of his school Wednesday and said that some are being bullied by others who backed Trump.

“I hope other kids will stick up for [those being bullied,]” the governor said. “I hope people will speak up. I  know I will.

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.


  1. Trump has done a lot of damage without being in office for one minute…Folks, the republican party is about to show us their “real” agenda…It is going to get ugly, real fast…I can see Martial Law in our future…be prepared….

  2. Buford, you are typical, trump hasn’t done a thing wrong,it’s the left that doesn’t like the out come. TRUMP may and may not be the pres. THAT everyone hopes for, but we had 8 years of a community organizer that tried to change America into what his vision was not ours,so be patient , at least he cares about america, obama never did.

  3. Oh please. Anything Trump does can on;y fix America. Do you even understand how much of our paychecks go to obamacare, taxes, untility taxes etc.? Close to 50% over all. They hide it so we don’t even know we are paying it. Under Trump we will actually have a choice, thank God!

  4. “Everybody should have basic health care, that is a right to all people,” Hickenlooper said…

    I’m not a Mayor or Governor or anything, but I don’t remember reading about that right in the Bill of Rights or the Constitution.

    I don’t believe the Governor is ignorant and stupid. So the only other alternative is that he is being deceitful — reckless and dangerous. Either to feed his own ego (as the rest of the article seems to lead) or else he is a liberal ideologue. Maybe both.

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