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ICYMI: At Durango Town Hall, Hickenlooper Talks Immigration, Outdoor Recreation, Local Issues

Jul 6, 2023

In case you missed it, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper held an in-person town hall last week in Durango to hear directly from Coloradans about rural health care, climate change, reproductive rights, and more during his swing through Southwestern Colorado. 

More than 140 Coloradans attended the event in person to ask questions and engage with Hickenlooper. Read more about the town hall from the Durango Herald, or see below for excerpts. For photos of the town hall, click HERE. For video and b-roll, click HERE or on the links below.

On Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry and public lands:

“If you look at the health benefits [and] the economic impacts of outdoor recreation on America, it is beyond what you would believe… Our push in terms of public lands is clean air, clean water, and public lands. If we support those within outdoor recreation, we will continue to have it grow and support all those small businesses… [We cherish] the value of the views and the landscapes that we love so much in Colorado, but not just for their beauty, but for their economic impact, and the positive benefit it has on the health of America.”

On encouraging diverse small businesses:

“The organizations that actually give out the loans for small businesses through the SBA generally are run by white college-educated successful business people, and they do not reflect the diversity of America at all… We’ve got a couple bills that we’ve gotten passed that are not going to change the criteria by which someone qualifies to be eligible, but to be eligible to run a [Small Business Innovation Research program] to decide who gets loans and who doesn’t… That doesn’t mean we’re still not looking for great businesses, run by anybody, who are going to create jobs and move this country forward.”

On immigration:

“Our country is a melting pot, and yet immigration has become a bad name. It’s been demonized, politicized, and weaponized… We need workers in almost every profession in America. We have unbelievable needs in agriculture, in tourism, in manufacturing, in every level of every profession we need more workers, and yet we’ve closed our borders almost completely… We need a pathway to citizenship!”

On future bipartisan optimism in Congress:

“Things we’ve failed on like comprehensive immigration reform, making sure we actually address climate change in a thoughtful, realistic, and pragmatic way – I think we’re going to make progress… I think we can do some really meaningful things in these next couple years, strictly by focusing and working on the things where we’re not so bitterly divided, and finding the places where we can agree in the places where we are divided.”


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