Jul 17, 2023 - News

New Denver Mayor Mike Johnston outlines vision of hope in inaugural address

Mike Johnston during his swearing-in ceremony on July 17 in Denver. Screenshot via Denver 8 TV

Mayor Mike Johnston said Denver is ready for "a new dream" while setting his vision for the city in his inaugural address after being sworn in Monday as the 46th mayor.

Why it matters: Johnston's speech sets the tone for his administration and signals a fresh start for a city welcoming a new mayor for the first time in 12 years.

Driving the news: The rosy, roughly 10-minute address acknowledged the challenges ahead but failed to deliver concrete solutions to solving them. Johnston outlined his main priorities, albeit vaguely, echoing pledges from the campaign trail:

  • Ensuring people experiencing homelessness get "help", a "home" and are "healed."
  • Creating a city where people "feel safe in every part."
  • Reviving downtown Denver as a space where people "live and work and play."
  • Investing in housing, roadways and hospitals.

What he's saying: "Today, we dedicate ourselves to two essential American ideas: Every problem we face is solvable, and we are the ones to solve them," Johnston said at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

What we're watching: How fast, if at all, the new mayor can deliver on his promises, and how he will build his cabinet to help him stay on track.

  • The first high-profile hire announcement, which came late last week, was chief of staff Jenn Ridder, a longtime Democratic political strategist.

What's next: He starts the job with a lot on his plate, including rampant homelessness, rising housing costs and an influx of immigrants arriving from the southern U.S. border.

  • Johnston told reporters after his speech Monday that he would hold a news briefing Tuesday to discuss some of the first actions he plans to take in office.

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