John Hickenlooper was a geologist-turned brewpub pioneer who had never run for political office (not even student council) before running for mayor of Denver. 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. Before ever taking office, he tossed aside regional conflicts – announcing to suburban mayors that the days of “Denver first” were over. John pushed aside partisanship and reached out to Colorado’s Republican Governor to bridge a new, city-state partnership. As mayor, John consistently honed a creative, innovative and efficient edge to government. He overhauled the city’s financial system, created the city’s first chief financial officer and streamlined many City services.
In 2005, after serving only two years as mayor, TIME Magazine placed him among the top five “big-city” mayors in the country. That same year, John introduced GreenPrint Denver, a plan to improve Denver’s urban environment by increasing efficiency and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting “green” urban design, and implementing an aggressive waste reduction campaign. The effort has reduced energy use at Denver International Airport by 11 percent per passenger, increased recycling throughout the city by 69 percent, and reduced water use at City Hall by a million gallons per year. John was elected governor of Colorado last November, and took office in January. His boundless energy, enthusiasm and creativity are generating tremendous optimism and confidence in Colorado’s future.