Hickenlooper wants to hear Trump talk jobs in congressional address

Author: Ernest Luning - February 28, 2017 - Updated: February 28, 2017

Gov. John Hickenlooper addresses the Governor's Ag Forum on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)
Gov. John Hickenlooper addresses the Governor’s Ag Forum on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Gov. John Hickenlooper said he’s hoping President Donald Trump will focus on job-creation in his address to Congress Tuesday night in a brief interview with the hosts of MSNBC’s early morning talk show Morning Joe.

“Most Democratic governors — I think all governors — are really focused on, in our states, good jobs, and how do we get good jobs, how do we make sure that one job will lead to another job and you can have a better career,” he said.

Asked what he thinks about Trump’s proposals, the Democrat grinned and shook his head. “We haven’t seen any proposals,” Hickenlooper said. “He’s still, as he’s said during the entire campaign, he’s been talking about, really pushing on, talking a good game, but he hasn’t really made a significant proposal 40 days into the administration.”

Hickenlooper, in Washington for several days for a meeting of the National Governors Association, also made an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd on Sunday and sat for a half-hour interview Friday with Politico reporter Eli Stokols as part of the State Solutions Conference.

In those interviews, he brushed off recent suggestions he’s moving toward a presidential run in 2020, saying it’s far too early to consider something like that — at least not yet, anyway.

Responding to a prompt from one of the Morning Joe hosts, Hickenlooper tipped his hat to Pete Buttigieg, the 35-year-old Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, as a potential rising star in the party. Hickenlooper said it was important for fresh faces to emerge and weigh in on policies.

Then he took a swing at early reports outlining the Trump administration’s budget priorities.

“All right,” Hickenlooper said, “if you’re going to put all this additional money into the Defense Department, that’s great, but you’re not just going to cut it from programs that are critical to people’s states, you don’t want to cut all your pollution protections, you don’t want to cut your education funding, you don’t want to cut everything just to make room for one expansion.”

He noted that Vice President Mike Pence, as a former governor of Indiana, appeared to understand how governors operate, distinct from other elected officers.

“In many ways, governors aren’t like Congress,” Hickenlooper said. “Governors aren’t as partisan — the buck stops with us, we’ve got to get it done, we’ve got to balance the budget in every state, we don’t get to run up big deficits. There’s a real collegiality. We love to take the best idea that our neighbor has and make it ours and make it a little better, then he’ll steal it back, or she’ll steal it back and improve it again.”

He said governors have a more collaborative relationship, noting that the western governors are well acquainted and frequently call one another to trade ideas.

“Hopefully, we can have that relationship with the White House,” he added.

Hickenlooper returns to Colorado Tuesday afternoon.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.