Hickenlooper looks beyond party politics

Among the many items Gov. John Hickenlooper discussed while in Grand Junction Monday was a proposal his office has made to the Bureau of Land Management to develop a single form for energy companies to use to comply with federal and state hydraulic fracturing disclosure rules.

That’s not been done before, Hickenlooper told The Daily Sentinel’s editorial board. But since the recently released draft of BLM rules closely mirrors the fracking disclosure rules Colorado adopted last year, the governor sees little reason there should be multiple forms for the different agencies.

We agree. It’s a sensible idea, and we hope top BLM officials and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar accept the plan. It would aid not only the energy companies, but the government agencies that deal with them and members of the public who want to track fracking information.

The attempt to find a better way on fracking disclosure is typical of a governor who has come to be known for his efforts to find solutions on complex policy issues rather than score political points.

It’s a refreshing change from too many politicians — local, state and federal — who seem to begin and end every conversation with an attack on the opposing party or opposing factions within their own party.

In lengthy discussions with this newspaper and in public appearances in other locations in the Grand Valley this week, Hickenlooper barely mentioned Republicans and Democrats. Even when he expressed his frustration over legislation he supported that died at the Capitol this year, the Democratic governor refrained from attacking lawmakers or Republican Party leaders who killed the bills.

Most of his time was spent discussing ideas and options to improve Colorado’s economy and ways of making this a better place to live and work.

Partisanship has a definite place in our public discourse and our representative form of government, of course. Opposing parties and groups offer competing views of how we should govern, create budgets, raise revenue and spend it. Elected officials, and those seeking elective office, understandably try to highlight the differences between themselves and the opposition. That’s both expected and necessary, as voters try to determine which candidates they will support.

However, most voters grow weary of leaders who make every event an opportunity to bash those with different political views and who always seem to put the interests of their party first, not the needs of the public at large.

Hence the growing public disgust with Congress, with a president who promised to be “post-partisan,” but has become as partisan as any other politician, and with Republican leaders who attack virtually every word the president utters.

And that’s the reason we’re so appreciative of Hickenlooper’s approach to governing.


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