Gov. John Hickenlooper
Governor of Colorado
John Hickenlooper, a self-described “recovering geologist now on loan to public service,” was elected Governor in 2010. His unconventional road to the Capitol began when he left the oilfields of western Colorado in the late 1980s and opened the state’s first brewpub.
He had served nearly eight years as mayor when then-Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter’s decided not to seek re-election. John was encouraged to make a run and quickly garnered support to be the Democratic candidate for Governor. He won 51 percent of the vote in a three-way race.
Born in Narberth, Pa., John saw his father die at a young age and was raised by his notoriously frugal mother. Having lived through the Great Depression, John’s mother never wore a dress she didn’t sew herself, and she washed plastic wrap and aluminum foil for reuse. John has carried these lessons of frugality throughout his life – lessons that have served him well as a budget-conscious chief executive.
In 2003, John entered the race for Denver mayor. Despite opposition from seasoned political veterans, he captured the attention of voters with his outsiders’ perspective and business prowess, and he won by a landslide 2-to-1 margin.
John ran for Governor of Colorado in 2010 on a platform to make Colorado the best place for entrepreneurs to grow jobs. He promised a balanced budget plan without raising taxes and a regulatory philosophy that would support economic development while maintaining the highest environmental standards.
John is separated from his wife, Helen Thorpe. They have one son. The family calls Denver their home.