“John Hickenlooper believes climate change is both the biggest threat and the greatest opportunity of our time,”  Hickenlooper for Colorado spokeswoman Melissa Miller said in a statement. “While a scheduling conflict unfortunately prevents him from attending next weekend’s forum, he looks forward to talking with voters across the state about his plans to combat climate change by growing our clean energy economy and reinstating and expanding protections for clean air and water.” – Westword “Hickenlooper’s climate debate snub irks activists, rivals” Oct. 1st 2019

As an organizer of the 2020 Senate Climate Forum “Planet in Peril”, I am extremely disappointed by the political shenanigans from the Hickenlooper camp. Our coalition reached out to him as soon as he announced his intention to run for Senate. This is clearly more smoke and mirrors from a career politician who has no intention of addressing the climate crisis as evidenced by his lack of urgency to attend. 

Hickenlooper doesn’t exactly have a reputation for protecting the health and safety of Colorado residents. Under Hickenlooper’s governorship the state sued communities who tried to protect themselves from fracking. In 2013 the then governor claimed to have drunk fracking fluid in a meeting with Oil and Gas executives at a Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy. In the past, Hickenlooper has deeply supported the fracking industry, and as someone who is a pro-fracking moderate, his politics are continuously at odds with Coloradans, especially on climate change. In last year’s monumental  “blue wave” midterm elections, Colorado Democrats captured unified control of the state government for the first time since 2014. The newly unshackled Democrats have used their governing trifecta to make headway on a very ambitious agenda, including the most meaningful oil and gas regulation reforms in decades making Hickenlooper’s fracking record more of a liability now than it was when he was governor given our swiftly declining climate. His nestling up to the industry over the years earned him the nickname Frackenlooper, and if he wants to shed that nickname, he needs to stop and listen to the people of Colorado and attend the Climate Forum this weekend.

Hickenlooper’s attitude on skipping an event focused on what is the most hotly debated topic of the 2020 elections is a travesty to the people of Colorado. He sets himself up in the same camp as Cory Gardner, who is the only other candidate for Senate who won’t be attending. For someone who claims that climate change is “both the biggest threat and the greatest opportunity of our time” skipping the climate forum for who only knows what is not only a slap in the face of our democracy, but also to the thousands of Colorado youth who joined Climate Strikes last week. Our house is on fire, and it’s time the candidates start acting like it. 

– Amy Gray, Board Member 350 Colorado Action