Jul 19, 2022 - News

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock delivers final State of the City speech

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock during his final State of the Speech address on July 18 at the Montbello Recreation Center. Photo courtesy of the Denver Mayor's Office, Evan Semón Photography

Twelve years in, term-limited Denver Mayor Michael Hancock plans to prioritize justice and equity in his final year as the city's chief executive.

Why it matters: The two issues have persisted in Denver for decades, and were only exacerbated by the pandemic.

  • Should Hancock fail to tangibly address the problems plaguing the city — from homelessness to law enforcement missteps and more — the flops could define his administration's legacy.

Driving the news: In Hancock's final State of the City address on Tuesday, he made his closing argument before his successor steps in next spring.

  • "My legacy is: Let's gear up. Let's deal with the issue. Let's do the best we can to solve the challenges and not window-dress it," he told Axios Denver after his speech.

Hancock outlined plans to make more "intensive" on-the-ground efforts to house people living in illegal encampments.

  • He said he plans to invest $2 million in the Denver Basic Income Project to provide nearly 150 women and families in shelters with $1,000 a month for a year as support.
  • Hancock also pledged to expand the city's down payment assistance program to build wealth through homeownership and grow Denver's equity-focused business investment fund to $50 million in the next five years.
  • The mayor also spotlighted plans to further curb crime by hiring more police officers and funding a new partnership with the U.S. attorney's office to prosecute violent felons found with guns.

Of note: Hancock announced his administration will open an innovation center in northeast Park Hill dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs of color, as well as four additional youth recreation centers across the city by 2024.

The bottom line: "We remain committed to justice … and leaving this city better than we found it," he said Tuesday.

  • "[W]hile this may be my final year as mayor, I pledge to you that I will bring the same energy, creativity and intention as if it were my first."

What's next: After his term ends, Hancock says he remains "absolutely" interested in taking a break from politics and pursuing a private sector job, echoing what he told Axios Denver in an earlier interview.

  • "I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm looking forward to what's next," he said.
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