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John Hickenlooper is a household name in Colorado and even in the outdoor industry, and a name that’s surfacing nationwide as a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
There’s been chatter since as early as last April that he’ll run for president and every day, it seems like he’s closer and closer to being 100 percent sure of his intentions. This past weekend, he was testing the waters—and beer—during a visit to Iowa that seemed a lot like a caucus campaign, the Des Moines Register reported.
As Colorado’s governor from 2011 to 2019, Hickenlooper oversaw Outdoor Retailer’s move from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Denver. As an outdoorsman and businessman, he was extremely supportive of the relocation and told a crowd in July 2017: “The more people enjoying outdoor recreation, the better the world is. How can you not support an industry [like this]?”
In June 2015, Hickenlooper created Colorado’s first Outdoor Recreation Industry Office—and appointed Luis Benitez as director—to boost the economy and promote the state’s public lands. The office was one of the first in the OREC movement, which is growing across the country by the day with 11 offices or task forces as of late. To honor his achievements, Outdoor Industry Association named Hickenlooper “Friend of the Outdoor Industry” at a 2018 awards event.
In an exclusive interview last summer, Hickenlooper told SNEWS that he’ll always be involved in the outdoor industry. He said, “There’s so much to do, and I think it’s a really exciting time to be engaged in outdoor recreation in any capacity.”
Hickenlooper has also been known for being progressive, but not a total liberal. He tries to please both sides of the aisle. As strong as his commitment to public lands and outdoor recreation might be, he’s also in favor of fracking and oil and gas development.
Until he’s fully ready to announce, we’re just going to have to wait to find out if Hickenlooper’s campaign will hinge on anything related to public lands and outdoor recreation.