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Hickenlooper’s inaugural brew: grow jobs, decrease partisanship

Posted by Michael Sandoval on January 11th, 2011
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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s inauguration Tuesday featured an intense focus on jobs, with the announcement of three executive orders designed to reaffirm the Democrat’s bona fides as a pro-business executive (a trait he touted back in July in the campaign video above), a dimension called into question recently with the appointment of union-friendly Ellen Golombek to the Department of Labor and Employment.

State Bill Colorado has the full text of all three executive orders mentioned by the newly minted governor.

The bulk of Hickenlooper’s address was devoted to such “kitchen table” issues, peppered intermittently with themes urging Coloradans to work together, the importance of education (necessary for the economy to recover), and, of course, beer (the entrepreneurial spirit of Colorado).

From Hickenlooper’s prepared comments, posted at 9NEWS, a glimpse of economic as well as political benchmarks:

Our first task, our highest priority, is jobs.

We will help businesses protect and expand the jobs we have, we will attract new jobs, and we will embrace the entrepreneurial spirit that exists throughout Colorado.

Today, I will sign several Executive Orders. The first order requires state government to join in partnership with local communities in creating jobs and designing economic development plans that are uniquely suited to these communities. This effort, focusing on the use of local talent and resources, is an initiative for all 64 counties - from Dolores to Douglas, from Mineral to Morgan … and all the places in between. We will chart a course for economic revival from the bottom up, county by county. On Friday, I will embark on a four-day trip around the state to begin this process.

Our second Executive Order places a new emphasis on global opportunities as an engine for job creation. Business is about relationships. This order will create the Governor’s Trade and Tourism Ambassador Program. We intend to enlist Colorado-related businesses and individuals living in other states and countries who have a stake in Colorado. These volunteer ambassadors will spread the word about Colorado, brand us as a state that welcomes innovation and new investment, and help us spur international tourism and export opportunities.

A third Executive Order begins the task of making the State a more effective partner with our counties. It provides for more flexibility and less bureaucracy; more freedom with fewer mandates. It also sends a message to the private sector that we mean to cut red tape, make licenses and regulations more rational and easier to understand, and that we mean to do it as a partner with local communities.

By taking specific actions today, we want the people of Colorado to know that we heard you and we share your urgency to get Colorado back to work. We also heard you want a leaner and less partisan government. We recruited people for our Cabinet, independent of political backgrounds, who will put our state first and bring the commitment needed to meet our fiscal challenges. We chose them because they share our values of competence, integrity and compassion.

Their job will be to help us shrink government while still being effective and efficient. They have not been asked - nor will they be expected - to provide a partisan perspective. Their work will define Colorado as a beacon of good government, where innovation and customer service is part of the daily exercise of every state employee. As business is attracted to excellence, this emphasis on good government must be a cornerstone of our economic revival.

Good government also means careful budget planning (and trimming), something Hickenlooper acknowledged, saying, “As a kid we learned that you don’t spend what you don’t have; you don’t use up your savings on things you may want but don’t need.”

There are many “wants” in government, and Hickenlooper will face a chorus of “want” groups over his four-year term.


Even with the continued economic downturn, given the current political environment, minimizing partisanship will prove to be just as challenging a task for the new governor as it will be to grow a struggling economy.

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  • Post by Michael Sandoval on January 11th, 2011

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