What a difference a year makes. As Gov. John Hickenlooper gets set to make his next-to-last State of the State address to the Colorado legislature Thursday morning, it’s a good time to look at last year’s speech.
“And I know I’m not the only one looking forward to the Broncos beating the Steelers on Sunday,” he said 12 months ago. OK, moving right along.
He credited his rosy glow and spring in his step, if only partially, to his recent engagement. They were married the next weekend.
These speeches tend to be more style than substance. Hickenlooper has always leaned on style and spontaneity.
And in true Hickenlooper style, he gave an indirect shout out to Marty McFly. (“We don’t need a Delorean time machine to know that change is coming.”), the hooking-up app Tinder (“that dating would be all about swiping left or right”) and cat videos (“so many cat videos”).
And I swear I’m not making this up, he started spitting rhymes:
“No matter what the future holds, If you’re young or old, what your dream looks like, strike gold, stone cold; Colorado is the place where fortune favors the bold.”
In the meat of the governor’s speech to the joint session of the General Assembly, he called for bipartisan collaboration (“Civility leads to collaboration. Compromise leads to progress.”) that didn’t materialize on the highest-profile issues during the ensuing next four months.
He urged legislators to redefine the state’s Hospital Provider Fee as an enterprise fund to get it out from under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and detour taxpayer refunds into roads, schools and other state needs. They didn’t.
He asked for a compromise on construction defects litigation, which proponents say slows the construction of cheap, affordable housing. Nope, didn’t get that, either.
“Let’s get back to the art of compromise and set Colorado up to win,” Hickenlooper said back when the Broncos were mighty and people thought Donald Trump’s poll numbers were a fluke.
“Let’s look past our term limits and work through our differences to build something we can all be proud of – so that in 130 years, Coloradans will look back on what we accomplished here and say ‘They did us right.’”
He ended the speech like he started it, referring to the indirectly sexist history in the construction of the state Capitol after Colorado lawmakers, 20 years removed from the Civil War, approved $2.7 million to build it.
“Originally, the top of the Capitol Dome was to be adorned by a 12-foot high statue of “the most beautiful woman in Colorado,’” Hickenlooper said.
“Despite a clear Republican majority, the legislators couldn’t agree on who was, in fact, the most beautiful woman in the state. So they forged a compromise: the crystal sphere known as ‘the lantern’ that tops the building to this day.”
So arguing over the good looks of women resulted in a compromise down to a fancy piece of glass. Ain’t that Colorado?
But our governor brought it home.
“Standing in this chamber, steeped in history, I wonder, who really is the most beautiful woman in Colorado.
“There’s no longer any debate – it’s my finacée Robin Pringle.”
Aw, it’s moments like this that are going to make Republicans and Democrats miss Hickenlooper.
If the now-64-year-old quotes Taylor Swift (“haters gonna hate”) again, maybe not so much.