HICKENWATCHER: Hickenlooper talks DACA, weed, Sessions and Kasich

The growing mystery behind Hickenlooper’s next step brings us to our first edition of Hickenwatcher, where we’ll follow Hickenlooper’s forays into national politics and potential bid for U.S. President.

Is John Hickenlooper lurking beneath Iowa? (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

hickwatch; hickenwatcher;
Is John Hickenlooper lurking beneath Iowa? (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) hickwatch; hickenwatcher;
Is John Hickenlooper lurking beneath Iowa? (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The intrigue around Gov. John Hickenlooper’s next step isn’t dying down anytime soon, especially with the continuation of his bromance-slash-fantasy-presidential bid with Ohio Governor John Kasich.

The two have tweeted about or at each other at least five times since January. They did a joint TV interview in February. They had a fun back-and-forth started by Kasich, who noticed Hickenlooper was headed to Iowa and took the opportunity to stoke the presidential candidacy fire.

Plus, their last names are in each other’s top two Google suggestions — and Google knows everyone’s secrets.

The growing mystery behind Hickenlooper’s next step brings us to our first edition of Hickenwatcher, where we’ll follow Hickenlooper’s forays into national politics and potential bid for U.S. President.

On Monday, Rolling Stone published an interview with the outgoing Colorado governor, prodding the former brewer about DACA, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ beef with weed and the potential Hickenlooper-Kasich ticket.

At the moment, Hickenlooper isn’t really interested in being Kasich’s veep.

As has always been his way, Hickenlooper was coy when he was asked about the possibility of running.

He said Kasich’s tweet in April was just the Ohio governor “causing mischief” and told the magazine, “He is such a character, and we probably disagree about a bunch of stuff. I mean, he’s very pro-life. But I do think it’s important to have Republicans and Democrats show they can agree on difficult, complicated issues like health care.”

Hickenlooper said the two get along great, but reiterated Kasich’s line that that neither would agree to be the other’s VP. (Possibly hindering their friendship, Hickenlooper is not impressed with Kasich’s knowledge of brewing.)

Hickenlooper will continue supporting Dreamers, but suggests more work needs to be done in Washington.

Hickenlooper said the work behind a new DACA deal has been mostly talk. He lamented how much this impacts Dreamers, many of whom he said arrived in the United States when they were younger than 10 years old.

“They didn’t choose to come here. Most of them don’t have a home to go home to,” he told the magazine.

Hickenlooper said he’s been trying to figure out how to address undocumented immigrant children brought here by parents since he first ran for mayor of Denver in 2003. Fifteen year later, he suggests securing the border, implementing an ID system and giving people a five-year work permit with an option to renew it.

As for Colorado’s current role, he says it’s about showing support and that “…we make sure that we’re not in any way doing the work of the federal government for them.”

Hickenlooper has spoken to Sessions about weed a few times.

Despite fears that legalizing marijuana would increase its use, the state hasn’t seen a major spike in marijuana consumption overall, though Hickenlooper said there has been an uptick in use among senior citizens and some concerns over the impact on teenagers.

“All our studies show that the consumption and time of consumption are pretty much stable from what they were, so we don’t think there are more people driving while high, or very few more,” he told the magazine.

He also touted $200 million in annual revenue that he said helps pay for anti-drug advertising and hiring more cops.

Hickenlooper believes Sessions’ strategy is more about keeping things hazy than actually directly combating its sale and regulation in states like Colorado. Sessions has said they don’t have resources to police marijuana dispensaries and would like to focus efforts on heroin, meth and human trafficking.

So that it’s for the first installation of Hickenwatcher, stay tuned for more Hickenwatching and feel free to use this as a hashtag to send us Hickenwatcher-worthy content.

Esteban L. Hernandez

Author: Esteban L. Hernandez

Esteban L. Hernandez is covering politics and other general assignment topics for Denverite. A native of Aurora, he previously worked at the New Haven Register and Register Citizen in Connecticut. He's a graduate of Hinkley High School in Aurora and the University of Colorado. He can be reached at 303-502-2805, ehernandez@denverite.com or @EstebanHRZ on Twitter.