Mayor Hancock Prepares to Depart After 20 Years as City Elected Leader

Published on July 14, 2023

As he prepares to leave office after 12 years as Mayor and eight years as a City Councilman, Mayor Michael B. Hancock issued the following statement and released a new booklet and video chronicling his two-decade career in public service:

“Thank you, Denver. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for putting your trust in me and my Administration to lead our beloved city for these past 12 years – through good times and tough times. As my time as your Mayor comes to a close, I see a city that continues to meet challenges with our signature Denver spirit, boldly demonstrating that we are all Denver and we never give up. Thank you once again for the privilege of serving you. May God bless each and every one of you and may God bless our great city.”

Mayor Hancock and his Administration led Denver’s evolution into a nationally acclaimed and globally connected city from 2011 to 2023 – a 12-year span that included incredible economic and social challenges. The Hancock Administration’s work cemented Denver’s reputation as one of the most desirable places in the country to live, learn, work and play. 

The complete 12-year tenure of the Hancock Administration is chronicled in both print and video formats in “Denver Rising.” Click here(PDF, 6MB) for the print version and here for the video version.

Mayor Hancock took office in 2011 when the city was struggling with 9 percent unemployment and ongoing fallout from the Great Recession. The Administration led Denver’s recovery, repairing a $100 million budget deficit, restoring core city services, and establishing Denver as one of the fastest growing and most vibrant cities in the nation.

Just a few months after winning a third term in 2019, Mayor Hancock once again led Denver through an unprecedented period of challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic, another economic collapse, social unrest and racial reckoning triggered by the murder of George Floyd, rising crime and the triple crises of untreated mental illness, drug addiction and homelessness. During an unrivaled time in public service, Mayor Hancock and his Administration rose to meet every challenge.

They also reminded the world that Denver can throw one heck of a party, hosting not one, not two, but three championship parades and rallies for our Denver Broncos, Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets. 

GLOBAL CONNECTIONS

A top priority for Mayor Hancock from the very beginning was to connect Denver and the entire Rocky Mountain region to the globe and increase its competitiveness. Denver International Airport is now the third-busiest airport in the world, with 17 new international flights since 2011. Denver’s emergence on the world stage attracted major employers, propelled tourism and created the foundation for a sustainable modern economy.

MAJOR PROJECTS

Mayor Hancock set an aggressive agenda to grow jobs and deliver city-changing projects. These projects included keeping the National Western Stock Show in Denver and creating a new National Western Center, completing the restoration of Denver Union Station, expanding the Colorado Convention Center, revitalizing and expanding Denver International Airport, rebuilding the 16th Street Mall, protecting and adding more parkland and open space, and turning the South Platte River into an ecologically sustainable amenity for generations to come.

PUBLIC SAFETY

Mayor Hancock and his Administration instilled a culture of community accountability and continuous improvement into Denver’s public safety departments, and in the process made Denver an early pioneer of police and jail reforms. The Department of Safety modernized its strategies, creating specialized units, such as the Street Enforcement Team, and alternative approaches, like co-responders and the Support Team Assisted Response program (STAR).

AFFORDABLE HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS RESOLUTION

The Hancock Administration made huge strides in creating affordable housing, building a foundation of policies, processes and programs to deliver affordable housing options for residents in need, from dedicating new revenue sources, to establishing a new agency, to implementing new requirements for housing justice.

Addressing the many aspects of homelessness was the most complex public policy challenge during the 12 years of the Hancock Administration. Homelessness in Denver was not just a product of a national housing affordability crisis but was compounded by twin epidemics of untreated mental illness and drug addiction -- and was later exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the Hancock Administration dramatically expanded the quality of services and level of funding dedicated to people experiencing homelessness in Denver.

TRANSPORTATION AND MOBILITY

Mayor Hancock and his Administration significantly advanced Denver’s transition from a car-centric transportation city to a regional mobility hub, offering increased options with multimodal streets to move more people, goods and services more safely and efficiently. Over three terms, the Hancock Administration led efforts to enhance safety, reduce congestion, fight climate change and make the largest investment in transportation infrastructure in Denver’s history. The Regional Transportation District’s FasTracks program had been the primary means for delivering regional multi-modalism, but the Hancock Administration established the foundation for intra-city transportation options to connect with RTD’s regional network of light and commuter rail, with the Denver Union Station Transit Center serving as a metro-area hub.

SUMMARY

Thanks to Mayor Hancock and the people of Denver, our city now boasts a thriving arts, culture and culinary scene. Revitalized neighborhoods create opportunities for Denverites and their families. There are more parks, recreation centers, libraries and multimodal transportation options thanks to Mayor Hancock-led initiatives. The city is now considered a global leader in the fight against climate change, and children in Denver are less likely to be living in poverty than they were 12 years ago. 

During a time spanning three different American presidencies and two Colorado governorships, Mayor Hancock and his Administration forged the city’s unique path to mold a modern economy with greater opportunities, strong jobs and higher wages.

Simultaneously, the Administration worked diligently to address social issues, focusing on strengthening workforce, housing, homelessness and behavioral health services. This work required setting a completely new foundation of systems, programs and funding, including the creation of the Department of Housing Stability, Department of Transportation & Infrastructure, and Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency. It also included sheltering and serving 13,000 Central and South American refugees who have arrived in Denver since December 2022. 

By harnessing the collective power of residents, businesses, visitors and dedicated city employees, Mayor Hancock set Denver on a path toward an even stronger future, one full of boundless possibilities and opportunities. The next administration and all future Denverites will be able to stand on Mayor Hancock’s shoulders and continue building a city where we are all Denver.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Denver International Airport is the 3rd busiest airport in the world
  • 17 new international flights added since 2011
  • $4 billion economic impact of international flights added in the last 12 years
  • 11,200 jobs created from international flight development
  • $250 million+ budget for affordable housing and homelessness resolution in 2023
  • 15,000 residents housed or re-housed
  • 24 hour/7 days a week/365 days a year homeless shelter system
  • 2,000-person shelter capacity
  • 13,000 Central and South American migrants sheltered and served since December 2022
  • $17.29 minimum wage
  • 13% reduction in child poverty
  • 2,604,163 free youth rec. center visits with the MY Denver Card
  • Over $1 billion in voter-supported infrastructure investments made in neighborhoods across the city
  • 12.6 million micro-mobility scooter and bike rides
  • 231 miles of new bike lanes
  • 140 miles of new sidewalks
  • 5,075 miles of roads repaired
  • 30 percent reduction in Denver’s overall greenhouse gas emissions
  • Over 2000 acres of urban park and mountain park land protected and expanded
  • $227 million budget shortfall closed in 2020
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