Mar 24, 2023 - Politics

The first thing the next Denver mayor will do once elected

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Regardless of who wins, the next Denver mayor is expected to take action immediately.

Why it matters: What the candidates pick as their first act as mayor speaks volumes about their priorities and approach to the job.

State of play: Most of the mayoral candidates tell Axios Denver that they will take immediate action to address homelessness, though they have different approaches.

  • Four contenders — Lisa Calderón, Leslie Herod, Terrance Roberts and Trinidad Rodriguez — say they would declare a state of emergency as their first act to fast-track initiatives to help get people into stable housing.
  • Roberts goes a step further to say he would declare housing "a human right."

The intrigue: Other candidates share the focus but with less urgency and specifics.

  • Debbie Ortega would convene a meeting with metro area stakeholders to develop solutions.
  • Chris Hansen says he would order an audit of homelessness programs because some current initiatives are not working.
  • Mike Johnston says he would get people into stable housing, but didn't provide specifics on his first moves.

The other side: Andy Rougeot says his first move will address crime by taking steps toward providing more money for police training and hiring 400 officers — which will take time to implement.

Of note: Two other candidates told us they would take a more traditional approach.

  • Kelly Brough and Ean Thomas Tafoya say their first action would be to hire good people for their administrative teams.

Go deeper: A quick guide to the 2023 Denver election


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