Hickenlooper: pain in the rear, but I’m voting for him
Gov. John Hickenlooper deserves your vote, whether you’re politically unaffiliated, a frustrated Democrat like me, or a Republican tired of seeing the “wrong party” run the state government for the last eight years.
The guy can be an ass, but he still deserves your vote. He’s stubborn. He’s not especially good at listening to his base up here in the mountains. He has a tendency to follow his own instincts, even when his supposed masters — the voters — tell him to do the exact opposite. You might say he’s been domesticated the way the donkey has been domesticated, which is barely at all. And that is exactly why Hickenlooper should be re-elected.
Why support Hickenlooper? Well, there are reasons related to his record as governor and others related to his opponent, Republican Bob Beauprez.
If you’re opposed to natural gas development on our public lands, Hickenlooper can be maddening. He has sipped fracking fluid and expressed strong support for energy development. But he has also come out in favor of protecting the Thompson Divide, supported strong protections from oil shale development and helped enact important new air-quality regulations that require drillers to clean up their act and capture methane.
On the flip side, if you’re a big supporter of natural gas drilling and energy development, you’re not going to find a more effective governor than John Hickenlooper. Between growing economic pressures of alternative energy, solar and wind, and the remarkable effectiveness of Colorado’s environmental movement, the energy industry and its supporters should be happy to have a Democrat like Hickenlooper on their side. He can speak credibly on behalf of the environment and sensible energy development.
Hickenlooper also showed courage following the slaughters in Aurora and Connecticut by advocating for reasonable gun regulations and then signing them into law. It would seem that 30 or so dead children and adults in the span of less than a year would prompt broad support for gun regulations, but our paradoxical relationship with firearms in the United States hasn’t allowed that support to develop, or a debate to even occur.
Hickenlooper nevertheless saw a need to respond and took a stance that is meant to protect us all. He deserves credit for standing up to the gun lobby, and he deserves your vote.
Why vote against Bob Beauprez? There are plenty of reasons.
For one, he would strip your community of its right to determine its destiny.
That’s right. Beauprez has promised on his website to get rid of “all unnecessary regulations.” Certainly, those unnecessary regulations include new rules to allow places like Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Carbondale and Rifle to manage the impacts of energy development. And certainly, Garfield County’s ability to monitor and test air and water quality in energy development zones, and the regional effort to protect Thompson Divide, would all be viewed as “unnecessary regulations” on industry.
Looking for more reasons to vote against Beauprez? Well, he has a long record of voting against a woman’s right to control decisions about her health.
And for some reason, he wants to seize federal lands in Colorado. I’m not sure why he thinks that’s a good idea, but as someone who recreates in our National Forests, the last thing I want is the state government seizing federal lands and privatizing them, or otherwise limiting public access.
Finally, Beauprez supported the secession movement last year by a handful of counties along the northern border of Colorado. Now he claims that he is able to govern all of Colorado. I’m skeptical. You should be too.
Some advice for Hickenlooper if you’re re-elected, sir: quit drinking fracking fluid and supporting Garfield County’s reduced sage grouse protection alternative. You aren’t making any friends with Democrats or the greater sage grouse community.
Also, Governor, you continually nominate right-wingers from the Western Slope to your administration, as if that somehow counters the liberals from the Front Range who fill out the rest of your office.
In fact, we Democrats on the Western Slope are fundamentally different than your buddies in Denver and Boulder. You should try getting to know some of us in your second term. There are more of us up here than you know. And if this election is close, the people you’ve ignored for the last four years may have something to do with it.
Allyn Harvey is a trustee in the Town of Carbondale, and an unabashed Democrat. His column runs monthly in the Post Independent.
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