March 8 (UPI) -- In his first speech since announcing his candidacy for president on Monday, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called for an end of divisive politics and a return to American values while chastising President Donald Trump for sowing this division and hate.
Before some 5,000 people at Civic Center, in Denver, Hickenlooper opened his speech Thursday quoting Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Wallace Stegner who said Colorado is "the home of hope."
"We have every right to live in a land that's called the home of hope," he said. "But these days that's not how it feels in American. It feels like we're living in a heaving crisis -- years in the making -- spawned by dysfunctional politics, defined above all by this president."
In under 2 minutes, the moderate Democrat attacked the president, saying he is alienating the United States' allies, endangering the planet and destroying U.S. democracy, among other concerns.
The former governor of Colorado from 2011 to 2019 said that the president values success by the number of enemies he creates.
"These are not the metrics of America's greatness," he said. "We are a nation that tracks our progress by the number of working families who end the day feeling more secure about their future. We tally our wins by the number of children who have enough to eat, who feel safe in their homes, feel safe in their schools."
The former mayor of Denver from 2003 to 2011 said he was running for president to make the United States whole again following an administration that has worked to divide the public.
"America stops working when we work against each other," he said. "Our country stops making progress when we hunker down on the opposite side of the continental divide -- red versus blue; rich and poor; Urban and rural. It's time to end this American crisis of division. It's time to bring all Americans together. And that is why I'm running for president of the United States."
He said as president he would make healthcare a right for all, recommit the United States to climate change goals set out in the Paris Agreement, create a green economy, make universal broadband Internet a national policy, and bring back the innovation and motivation "we used to land on the moon to save our planet."
By the time his presidency is over, he said, he wants Americans to feel as if a cloud of division had been lifted.
He admitted that what he set out are large goals, but that is what the United States is founded on, he said.
"It's one of America's greatest talents -- building dreams tomorrow we didn't know were possible today," he said.
He concluded his speech by calling for an end to the hate and division that has defined United States.
"Together we can turn this winter of division into a season of hope," he said.
To face Trump for the presidency, Hickenlooper still has a long way to go as he is entering a packed race for the Democratic nomination that includes names such as Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.Y., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., among many others.