Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper touted his executive experience at a speech at the Iowa State Fair Saturday. Hickenlooper, who also served as mayor of Denver, told an audience of fair attendees and potential Iowa caucus-goers that he has a proven list of accomplishments that other competitors in the crowded field can’t claim.
Addressing a crowd from the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the fair, Hickenlooper argued that governors are better positioned than U.S. senators to compete against an incumbent president.
"Governors have to make the final decision, the buck stops on our desk. We have to balance the budget every year. We can’t print more money," Hickenlooper said. "And when we propose solutions to our problems we got to make sure we know how to pay for them."
Hickenlooper is among a slate of candidates in the crowded Democratic primary field struggling to garner more than zero or one percent in state and national polls, in order to qualify for the third round of debates. Under scaled-up rules set by the Democratic National Convention, candidates must clear 2 percent in four qualifying polls and receive donations from 130,000 unique donors in order take the stage in Houston on September 12th and 13th.
Hickenlooper touted his executive experience as governor of Colorado and mayor of Denver as factors that set him apart from the rest of the field. Hickenlooper pointed to his efforts to expand oversight of local police forces, limit methane emissions by the oil and gas industry, expand access to reproductive healthcare and boost economic activity in struggling communities.
"I argue day in and day out that I’m the one person running who’s actually done what everyone else is only talking about," Hickenlooper said.
Hickenlooper also called for the broad legalization of marijuana, presenting Colorado as a nationwide model for how to open access to the drug.
He argued the federal government should decertify the marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance and clear the way for states to approve the sale of the drug, or specify "dry" communities, in the way that some areas restrict sales of alcohol.
"Now that we have legislation in Colorado we’ve shown it can work. They’re doing it California and Washington and other states," Hickenlooper said. "The federal government should get out of our way."