Yesterday, John Hickenlooper returned to the Denver Press Club -- an iconic joint he first visited two decades ago, when he was thinking of writing a screenplay about Damon Runyon, a Denver Post writer who moved on to New York and gained a national reputation for his celebration of colorful characters. And Runyon would have loved the story of this unemployed geologist-turned bar owner-turned mayor, who's now Colorado's governor-elect.
Hickenlooper was at the Press Club to meet the press, giving a fast look at his transition plans -- he's been so busy interviewing potential appointees that he hasn't had a chance to read the reports compiled by the transition-team committees -- in advance of the upcoming legislative session. But before he got into the nitty-gritty of taking on a state budget that could have a billion-dollar shortfall ("The 600 pound gorilla," he said), Hickenlooper remembered another tough financial time, shortly after he'd opened the Wynkoop Brewing Company.
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Turns out, Runyon wasn't the only reason he was interested in the Denver press corps. As the owner of a fledgling business, he quickly recognized that "journalists had an influence on whether I would survive or fail," Hickenlooper said.
And so he bought them beers whenever possible.
This, he hastened to add, was before the passage of Amendment 41.