WASHINGTON (CBS4) – Sen. John Hickenlooper was sworn in as Colorado’s junior senator on Sunday as the 117th Congress began in Washington D.C. The Democrat took the oath of office along with other lawmakers in both chambers, procedures that were modified to account for COVID-19 precautions.

In November Hickenlooper defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado’s 2020 U.S. Senate race. He spent eight years as the governor of Colorado after first bursting onto the political scene as Denver’s mayor. He then made a run for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president but dropped out in the early going amid poor polling numbers and decided to run for Senate instead.

Sen. John Hickenlooper poses during a mock swearing-in ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill on January 3, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Sen. John Hickenlooper with his family — wife Robin Pringle and son Teddy — in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill on Sunday. (credit: PETE MAROVICH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

During his tenure as governor, he oversaw 13 federally declared disasters for wildfires and historic floods, the Great Recession and the Aurora theater shooting.

Hickenlooper has a reputation of being a consensus builder who is credited with helping rebuild the Colorado economy from one of the worst in the nation to one of the best for job creation when he left. He used that style to bring the fracking factions to the table, negotiating the first methane capture rule in the country. Hickenlooper also created a task force to help build regulations in an effort to avoid ballot measures.

But he also filed lawsuits against cities that banned fracking and has also fought for tax increases for education and transportation.

Sen. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat from Colorado, center, wears a protective mask while being ceremoniously sworn-in by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 3.

Sen. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat from Colorado, wears a protective mask while being ceremoniously sworn-in by Vice President Mike Pence. His wife Robin Pringle stands at his side. (credit: Pete Marovich/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Hickenlooper’s list of achievements in Colorado includes in-state tuition for DREAMers, civil unions for same sex couples and an expansion of Medicaid.

Geology brought Hickenlooper to Colorado but when that didn’t work out, he joined the group that opened one of the first craft breweries in the state, Wynkoop Brewing.

Watch John Hickenlooper give his Senate acceptance speech in November 2020:

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Jesse Sarles