Hickenlooper asks legislators to rise above partisan politics in his State of the State speech

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John Hickenlooper

Gov. John Hickenlooper saw standing ovations from both sides of the aisle for his State of the State speech Thursday.

He led the speech with a look at the improving Colorado economy.

“In 2010, this state was ranked 40th in the nation,” he said. “Now three years later, Colorado is the fourth-fastest job growth state in the country.”

While the numbers are positive statewide, Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe said there still are challenges ahead for rural parts of the state.

“The growth in the economy, that hasn’t translated to Moffat County,” he said. “We’re still in recession. We don’t see the numbers that they’re talking about.”

Hickenlooper directed his attention to the particular challenges rural Colorado faces regarding infrastructure, traditional energy and job growth.

High-speed Internet should be widely available, he said.

“Rural and other underserved parts of the state should have the same broadband Internet access as urban areas,” Hickenlooper said.

Hickenlooper also highlighted his effort to bring conservationists and traditional-energy advocates together to find collaborative solutions.

In his reference to gun issues, he said Colorado should focus more on mental health issues.

Hickenlooper made a strong push for businesses and the government to team up, and Grobe appreciated that idea.

“That’s key. We have to work together. The government can’t always dictate down the line what’s going on,” he said, adding that business needs to contribute input.

Hickenlooper asked Colora-dans to work together for a stronger state.

“Whether we live in a mountain community or in a city, whether we are surrounded by cows or concrete, we all want the same things: the chance to earn a good wage, give our children a decent education, clean air and clean water,” Hickenlooper said.

His request to the legislature was to rise above partisan politics.

“Vigorous debate is our ally,” he said. “Partisanship is not.”

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@craigdailypress.com.

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