Editorial: Hickenlooper strikes right note on marijuana, bipartisan cooperation

Thank you, Gov. Hickenlooper.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper deserves praise for his recent attempts to forge bipartisanship on health care and workforce training, as well as his defense of Colorado’s recreational-marijuana system in the face of federal opposition.

On health care, Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, recently have made numerous joint appearances promoting a bipartisan approach to health-care reform. The effort is a counter to now-dead Republican efforts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

As Republican efforts to repeal and replace — and then outright repeal certain provisions — failed, an opening emerged for Democrats and Republicans to address admitted deficiencies in the law. As we’ve said previously, the two major political parties should come together to improve the law, rather than implement a repeal that would throw at least 22 million people off the insurance rolls.

Hickenlooper, in one joint appearance with Kasich on Face the Nation, identified another area where bipartisanship could reign: workforce training. He suggested that Republicans and Democrats identify ways to reinvent workforce training.

Two thirds of our kids are never going to get a four-year college degree,” Hickenlooper said. “And we really haven’t been able to prepare them, to involve them, in the economy where, you know, the new generation of jobs require some technical capability.

“We need to look at apprenticeships,” he added. “We need to look at … all kinds of internships. That’s the kind of thing that Republicans and Democrats could work on together. Go down the list. All the economic development work, it’s not a Republican or a Democratic issue to say, ‘We want better jobs for our kids,’ or, ‘We want to make sure that they’re trained for the new generation of jobs that are coming … beginning to appear.’”

Finally, on recreational marijuana, Hickenlooper — who opposed legalization — has been a responsible advocate for states exercising their rights to legalize the drug without federal interference.

Most recently, he’s defended Colorado’s system of marijuana regulation and enforcement in the face of pressure from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. His communications with Sessions have been clear, thoughtful and respectful of the federal government’s role and concerns.

On each of these measures, Hickenlooper is demonstrating a responsible approach to solving real problems, and defending Colorado’s interests.


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