In his inauguration speech Tuesday, John Hickenlooper began his second term as governor, highlighting past challenges while touting plans for Colorado's future.
“Four years ago, when I stood on these steps as governor-elect, I knew enough to know I could never anticipate all of what is required of a governor," Hickenlooper told a large crowd around the steps the lead into the state Capitol. "But I thought I had a pretty solid notion of what the job would entail. I was wrong. I am not the same person I was four years ago. And Colorado is not the same state it was four years ago."
Hickenlooper made the statements in taking the oath of office along with Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and other statewide elected officials. In November, Hickenlooper defeated Republican Bob Beauprez in a close election.
The Democrat noted several challenges in recent years. Communities were hit by deadly flooding in the fall of 2013 and recovered. Last year, there were court battles over same-sex marriage and now the state allows it.
“We experience hard times so that we can better appreciate the good ones,” Hickenlooper said, attributing a quote to his mother.
The governor struck a positive tone in the speech, focusing on the state’s booming economy.
“We will continue to build a Colorado where economic opportunity is felt in every corner,” he said, mentioning a new state program to address long-term unemployment. “Colorado can only meet its full potential if all Coloradans can meet their potential.”
Hickenlooper also called for “careful pruning” of the state budget, which he referred to as a “financial thicket.” He also called for continued work in health care access, environmental protection and education.
The governor will present a more detailed plan for his next term in office in his State of the State address inside the Capitol on Thursday.
He’ll have to work with a split Legislature this session. Democrats control the House and Republicans hold the Senate. In the prior 2 years, Democrats controlled both chambers.