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Denver Paid Sick Days Initiative backers hope Michael Hancock will reconsider his opposition

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This week, proponents of the Denver Paid Sick Leave Initiative turned in more than triple the number of signatures needed to make the ballot.

But they face plenty of obstacles, including the newly announced opposition of mayor-elect Michael Hancock.

Fresh from meeting with prominent business leaders of the sort who've already been grumbling about the perceived costs associated with such a measure, Hancock told the Denver Business Journal he didn't like the idea of a Denver-specific regulation that would hit businesses that are "struggling to keep people employed." As such, he can't support the initiative.

Sounds pretty definitive -- but Erin Bennett, who's both the Colorado director for 9to5, the National Association of Working Women, and spokeswoman for the Campaign for a Healthy Denver, isn't ready to give up on persuading him quite yet.

"We met with Mr. Hancock earlier, before the runoff election," she notes, "and we're looking forward to continuing our conversation and giving him all the information on the campaign and the positive impact of paid sick days."

As part of that discussion, she'd like Hancock to sit down with business people who back the initiative, not just those who find it objectionable. "Over twenty businesses have signed onto our campaign so far, in various sizes," she points out. "All these businesses offer sick days and can attest to the benefit it offers for them -- and they think it's going to be good for all businesses."

Even so, Bennett understands that the initiative is likely to become a target. "I would expect that the opposition will have some money behind their campaign," she says, likely understating the situation. "That's just based on past opposition to things like minimum-wage initiatives. But we're working to make sure we have a full and robust campaign on our end, so we can reach all voters.

"We really hope mayor-elect Hancock can keep an open mind," she adds. "It sounds like he's open to continuing to have conversations, and we hope he'll do that with the community as a whole, and also with our campaign."

More from our Politics archive: "Michael Hancock wears Webb's shoes in Denver mayor's race: Kenny Be's Speed Candidating."

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