By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. John Hickenlooper says he will miss the collaboration and camaraderie the most.
“Having a team of people where you’re taking on some of the toughest problems and challenges society has, and you’re coming up with the best solutions you can and trying to get people to join together,” he said.
Sworn in in January of 2011, Hickenlooper is known for his wacky style and centrist philosophy. He says one of his biggest regrets is not taking more time before signing controversial gun control laws in 2013.
“Some of my staff and some legislators wanted to kind of, it’s just going to be hard work and people are going to be so angry. You should just push it through. I don’t think there’s anything lost by engaging and listening to people.”
He will be remembered, in part, for his ability to convene opposing groups like environmentalists and the oil and gas industry to develop the first-in-the-nation methane rule. He is also proud to have lead the state’s economic recovery from “40th in job creation… to the number one economy in America.”
Hickenlooper says his most memorable moments, however, are among his most painful.
“That first term, we went to 62 funerals. Just fires and floods and certainly one of most memorable moments was going up after the the shooting in Aurora and seeing the crime scene and those images are etched in my brain forever.”
The governor says it feels like he’s been in office a lot longer than eight years and says the job has changed him.
“You do get callouses on your heart,” he said of the attacks on him.
But, some things about “Hick” — as he is often called — haven’t changed.
“As one of my staff says, for all my good traits one reality is my foot is never too far from my mouth. I can’t remake myself, and I don’t want to remake myself. Part of what gives me the energy to do this job every day is to be immersed and be myself and not worry about it.”
When he leaves office, Hickenlooper says he wants to take the honeymoon he and his second wife, Robin, never got. He was divorced a year and half into his first term.
He also plans to catch more of his son’s, Teddy, debate competitions.
“He doesn’t want me there, but I’ll sneak in.”
The governor is also considering a run for president, and told CBS4’s Shaun Boyd, “This is not our last interview.”
He plans to make a decision early next year.