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John Hickenlooper, former Colorado governor, announces presidential run

John Hickenlooper joins 2020 race

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has tossed his hat into the Democratic presidential ring. He announced his 2020 candidacy early Monday with a campaign video that hits the highlights of his career as a two-term governor and two-term Denver mayor. He addresses recession, droughts and floods, and the mass shooting in Aurora in 2012

Hickenlooper just finished his second term in the statehouse. He was a popular, pro-business governor. He left Colorado with a strong economy and his tenure was marked by an emphasis on consensus-building. 

It's that record that he's touting in the campaign video. "I'm running for president because we need dreamers in Washington but we also need to get things done," Hickenlooper says in the video. "I've proven again and again I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver."

As governor, Hickenlooper also signed an expansion of Medicaid in 2013. He has not expressed support for a single-payer health system.

Hickenlooper was the first Denver mayor to be elected Colorado governor in 120 years. And he won election as mayor of Denver with no political experience. He was re-elected in 2014 after running an entirely positive campaign.

He was considered one of the nation's most effective mayors -- in 2005, Time named him one of its five top big-city mayors. 

Hickenlooper was an amiable, business-friendly mayor who was able to lower the city's deficits by cutting costs and by persuading voters to accept sales taxes to pay for a new mass transit system. He also expanded pre-Kindergarten to every 4-year-old.

Hickenlooper followed an unusual route into politics, beginning his professional life as a geologist with Buckhorn Petroleum in the 1980s. But the oil bust in the mid-'80s cost him his job in 1986. There were no jobs to be had in the oil industry, so Hickenlooper went into the brewpub business, opening the Wynkoop Brewing Co. The brewery was a success, and it made him a millionaire.

Hickenlooper, the second governor or former governor to announce a Democratic presidential bid, follows Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who entered the fray last week. Hickenlooper will kick off his campaign at a hometown event in Denver Thursday. Then it's on to Iowa.

In September, Hickenlooper announced the formation of a leadership PAC, the Giddy Up PAC. Last year, he traveled to early-voting primary states like New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.

Hickenlooper has opposed a number of Trump administration policies, including plans to scale back on federal coal emission restrictions, and has been generally critical of the president's approach to business.

Over the summer, he called for an investigation into the separation of thousands of children from their families at the border, and he opposed the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.