Gardner y Hickenlooper al natural Gardner and Hickenlooper

Colorado Senate Chair Candidates Speak

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We have seen Senator Cory Gardner and Governor John Hickenlooper in debate on political issues during their campaign for the Senate seat of Colorado. We spoke with both candidates in order to learn a little more about their personal lives, their role as parents, and their musical tastes. We found many coincidences and we even managed to get each one to say pleasant words about each other

Senator Cory Gardner and Governor John Hickenlooper are two seasoned politicians with long careers as public servants. Gardner seeks to retain the Senate seat he won 2014. In addition to his six-years spent in the Senate, Gardner had seven years in other elected positions. Born in Yuma in northern Colorado, he was elected as a Representative in the Colorado Legislative Assembly (2005-2011) and then was elected to the House of Representatives to represent Colorado District 4 (2011-2015).

Meanwhile, Hickenlooper has a 17-year career in elected offices in Colorado. He served as mayor of Denver between 2003 and 2011. He was then elected as governor of Colorado, holding that position until 2019. He ventured into national politics by participating in the National Governors Association and launching his candidacy within the primary elections of the Democratic party to elect the presidential candidate. He withdrew his candidacy in the primaries at the end of 2019.

Conveying Optimism

Both candidates strictly complied with quarantine protocols during the pandemic and enjoyed spending time with their families. Gardner even recounted a recent experience he had with his son. “I remember one night when I took my 8-year-old son to bed. Suddenly he asked me, ‘Dad, is this the worst pandemic we’ve ever had?’ I was impressed my son even knew the meaning of the word ‘pandemic,’” Gardner recalled. He used the question as a teaching opportunity of hardships Americans faced in the past. Gardner mentioned the Spanish flu in the early twentieth century as an example.

He also mentioned the impact of the Great Depression, which, although not an epidemic, led to unemployment and food shortages. The senator told his son that his grandparents and great-grandparents worked very hard to overcome those two crises. Gardner also took advantage of the situation for an additional purpose. “I am trying to reaffirm to my son that in the United States we always strive to improve ourselves. As a parent, I hope my son understands that we must be optimistic in the most challenging circumstances,” he said.

Gardner y Hickenlooper al natural
Gardner y Hickenlooper al natural

A Gift from God

The pandemic also created special moments for Hickenlooper and his family. “We [Hickenlooper and his son Teddy] spent more time together this spring than we spent in a single year. I had wonderful and deep conversations with my son. And our relationship is now so much deeper and meaningful. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful son. I knew how wonderful he was, but to have a deeper and richer relationship with him was a true gift from God,” he said.

The governor had these positive experiences during quarantine in spring of 2020. He did not see things so positively at the beginning of the quarantine. He describes himself as an outgoing person and this time of seclusion looked very dim for him. “I am an extrovert. I really like being with people. I get energy by being with people,” he said. But the company of Teddy, his son, and his wife for so many long days was very positive for him. “We were together the whole time,” he said.

Broncos Fans

Gardner and Hickenlooper have a special admiration for the Denver Broncos. The senator recalled with great joy a special moment from 1984 at the Broncos training ground in Greeley. In the summer of that year, a 10-year-old Gardner met John Elway, quarterback of his favorite team. Gardner says he loves football, although he has no talent for playing it. However, he is proud of two of his family members ​​who are currently in the NFL.

Hickenlooper says he likes sports and follows local professional teams. He said he enjoyed the great 2020 season of the Nuggets who, “Are a great team.” He also loves the Colorado Rockies. “I try to watch one or two innings of each game. I turn down the volume when I take phone calls, but I keep my eyes on the game,” he stated. He continued, “My love for the Broncos is greater than what I feel for other teams. The Broncos contribute a large part of our sports energy here.”

Musical Taste

Gardner says he likes all kinds of music, from rock, bluegrass, country, to classical music. “I just downloaded a country song about a man who grew up going on Sunday drives with his parents reluctantly, but when he grew up, he took his parents out on country drives to reminisce on past drives as a kid. It was a powerful story about family and what it means for us in these difficult times to remain together,” said the senator about the recent song “Sunday Drive” by Brett Eldredge.

Hickenlooper’s choice

This Land is your Land

Woody Guthrie

Gardner’s choice

Sunday Drive

Brett Eldredge

Hickenlooper shared his music taste with us as well. The former governor is a banjo player, a six-stringed instrument. He is very fond of country music. “My favorite song during this pandemic has been, ‘This Land is your Land’ by Woody Guthrie. It’s a great song to play on the banjo and guitar. I wish I had more free time to play music on the banjo,” he said. 

Differing Food Tastes

These two politicians have different preferences when it comes to eating and cooking. Gardner loves pizza did not hide that it was his Achilles’ Heel. He loves pepperoni and mushroom pizza. Meanwhile, Hickenlooper likes simple dishes. The former governor said he tremendously enjoyed eating omelets, or oatmeal with papaya and raisings. The differing points of view on food is also present in the foods they cook.

For Gardner, his favorite food to cook is beef stroganoff, a recipe he learned from his grandmother. “I love making it. It’s a good family tradition,” he said. On the other hand, Hickenlooper said that his favorite recipe is Cheesy Eggs, which consists of scrambled eggs slowly cooked with Swiss cheese. “I love them because my wife loves them. When I make them for my wife, I’m a hero. That makes me love them, of course,” he said. Hickenlooper also mentioned that he learned to prepare mole in Oaxaca and that he prepares it for his friends.  

What do you admire about your opponent?

Cory Gardner: John is an excellent father. He has told me that he is very close to his son. And he even speaks Spanish with him.

John Hickenlooper: Cory has a very good track record as a public servant in Colorado and I have worked closely with him for the benefit of all Coloradans.

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