Hints on a possible presidential run by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper could boost attention for outdoor-industry issues in the 2020 campaign.
Hickenlooper was in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to accept the annual “Friend of the Outdoor Industry Award” during the Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) annual Capitol Summit and hinted at a possible 2020 presidential run.
With his final term concluding this year, Hickenlooper told Colorado Politics that he wanted to “sit down and spend some time to think about it,” saying it was too soon for a decision given his current priorities.
Hickenlooper, a strong supporter and advocate of the outdoor industry, was recognized for his leadership in organizing the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office in 2015. He also played an integral role in bringing Outdoor Retailer, the biggest outdoor retail trade show in North America, to Denver. Outdoor Retailer had a 20-year run in Salt Lake City prior to its relocation to Denver earlier this year.
The awards ceremony was a small part of OIA’s Capitol Summit, a three-day event on Capitol Hill, where more than 100 top outdoor industry executives and advocates came together to speak with members of Congress about funding and other issues facing the industry.
Although the outdoor industry is worth roughly $887 billion, industry professionals have faced a recent tough political climate head-on. In the past year and a half, the industry has faced reduction of two national monuments, $50 billion in tariffs imposed on consumer goods imported from China, funding cuts for research on climate change and more. Despite the slightly rocky terrain, Hickenlooper remains optimistic, saying the industry has the potential to be a lot bigger than it already is.
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