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Just four days after announcing his candidacy for president in 2020, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper wasted little time hitting the campaign trail in the nation’s first state to hold caucuses in the presidential election year.

Hickenlooper, 67, whose second term as Colorado governor ended Jan. 8, held events across Iowa on Friday and Saturday, including a meet-and- greet at 392 Caffe, 216 S. 2nd St., Clinton, where about 20 supporters came to hear him.

While he becomes the eighth Democrat to actually announce his candidacy for president, which he did March 4, he also is quick to admit he is a dark horse, but that, “I know I can beat Donald Trump.”

Hickenlooper said the key to his success in Colorado, including expanding health care and the methane capture regulations that became a blueprint for Canada’s and the U.S. Government’s rules, is because he brought the key people from government and industry together to make things happen.

“Someone today called me an 'extreme moderate,'” Hickenlooper said, as the crowd chuckled. “Well, I think that’s the direction this country needs to go to get through some of this stuff and to make sure we don’t get tied up in a pendulum swinging back-and-forth, I’m right, you’re wrong. I think we’ve got to get stuff done.

“When you look at the magnitude of the challenges we are facing, we’ve got to giddy up,” he said.

Hickenlooper said it appears the last time the United States was so divided was during the Civil War, and someone has to step in and bring the country together.

As a successful entrepreneur and businessman – he helped to create the Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver, Colorado’s first brewpub – as well as a successful politician who brought people together and developed policies to expand the state’s economy while protecting the environment and expanding health care, Hickenlooper said he is the one best qualified to bring the country together.

Asked about the tariff issue with China and how it is affecting the corn and soybean growers in the Midwest and Iowa in particular, Hickenloooper said that the biggest challenges facing the world include climate change, nuclear proliferation, and pandemics such as Ebola, the U.S. must have good relations and solid treaties with foreign countries.

“China has been very difficult,” he said. “They cheat on treaties, they steal our intellectual property; we needed to deal with that.

“We did not need to start a tariff war,” Hickenlooper said. “That was perhaps the worst thing we could do in terms of building a relationship that would allow us to move this country forward."

Hickenlooper said that he thinks it’s fair to say that the agricultural community in Colorado, “and I think it’s the same in Iowa, feels that they’ve been betrayed. I don’t think he (Trump) took into account the consequences.”

Hickenlooper said the he agrees with the sense of urgency behind the Green New Deal, as he is a scientist. 

“I think climate change is real,” he said, adding that it is happening faster than anyone thought a decade ago.

“I think there are ways we can address climate change rapidly and cost effectively," he said. 

In Colorado, he said, the oil and gas industry paid for methane regulations. "We can get them to do that in the rest of the country and then get them to do it all over the world. We’ve got to get to clean energy as quickly as we can.”

In Colorado, he said, two coal-fired electric plants in Pueblo are being closed and there is no natural gas as part of the transition. They plants are being replaced by wind, solar and batteries.

He said the cost of electricity for consumers will be going down.

“When you can provide a solution that is less expensive and cleaner, that’s how we will fight climate change,” Hickenlooper said, adding that the Green New Deal is a provocative statement to get people’s attention.

The other Democrats who have announced they are running for president are senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and former Rep. John Delaney.

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