Michael Hancock is now officially Denver's mayor -- and predictably, the speech he delivered to mark the occasion today was heavier on celebration than specifics. But other than hat tips to mayors from Speer to Hickenlooper and a quote from Plato ("This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are"), did he offer any hints about what the future of his administration holds? A few.
While Hancock has not yet chosen a Manager of Safety, he offered a salute to current officeholder Charles Garcia, who he credits with helping to "restore the public's trust in our Police Department" -- an indication that even if he doesn't ask Garcia to continue in the post, he'll likely choose someone with a similar bent. Which won't make police critics calling for fairness very happy.
In addition, Hancock made it clear that he hopes to use Denver International Airport as an engine for economic development by turning the area around it into an "aerotropolis" capable of spawning a "Corridor of Opportunity" leading all the way to downtown. (Nice coinage and capitalization.) As for the prospect of the National Western Stock show decamping for Aurora, Hancock insists that he and his team will find a "win-win-win solution."
That's a lot of winning, especially in this economic environment. But Hancock, who encourages locals to attend tonight's 6 p.m. Denver Celebrates concert at the Denver Botanic Gardens, doesn't seem interested in diminishing expectations.
Here's the text of his speech:
With a positive vision of our city, we have spent years working together for a better future. Today, I stand before you proud to serve as your next mayor.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I am humbled by your support and inspired by your resolve to make our great city even greater.
Of course, my deepest thanks must go to my biggest supporters, my family. To Mary, our wonderful children, to my mother, brothers and sisters and extended family members, your love and sacrifice throughout my life and throughout this campaign is why I'm standing here today.
I also want to recognize two members of the Little Rock Nine who have joined us today -- Ernie Green and Carlotta LaNier. You are a true inspiration. Thank you.
Thank you and congratulations to all of the elected leaders who are serving in these difficult times, and to those who served before us, including former Mayors Peña, Webb and now Gov. Hickenlooper.
A special thank you to Mayor Vidal, who in the true spirit of the city, refused to sit idle. Thank you, Bill, for serving with strength and humility, and with courage and candor.
To our regional partners, I look forward to building even stronger relationships over the years ahead.
To the people who have made a real difference in the lives of Denver residents -- our city employees, thank you. To my City Council colleagues, including Paula Sandoval and the late Carla Madison, the District Attorney, the City Auditor and the Clerk and Recorder, many of us began our public service together, and I am excited to continue our work.
Because, Denver, we are not done yet.
For 18 months during the campaign, I met with Denver residents in their kitchens, backyards and businesses. And the one resounding message I heard over and over again is that Denver is ready.
• Ready to turn challenges into opportunities for a brighter future;
• Ready to jumpstart our economy;
• Ready for Denver to take its rightful place as one of the premier cities in the United States and around the globe.
Today, I tell you Denver, it is time. Time that we deliver a great city for all of our citizens. Denver is brimming with possibility. Now is the time for all of us to come together to turn our dreams and aspirations into reality.
Now is the time, Denver.
• Time for us to take our place on the global stage.
• Time for every child to have access to a world-class education.
• Time for us to have streets where all residents feel welcome and safe.
• Time for Denver to provide a 21st Century government and services.
Plato once said, about his beloved home, "This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are."
It captures the true spirit of Denver. Since our city was a simple mining town, Denver has always overcome adversity and persevered. With determination, innovation and unbridled optimism, we have always found a way to prosper.
I've seen your passion for a positive path forward, even during difficult times like the past two recessions, and I've seen your dedication to building a better Denver.
Together, we have made wise investments and bold moves:
• We invested half-a-billion dollars in neighborhood improvement and city infrastructure projects.
• We supported FasTracks.
• And you embraced our positive campaign for mayor and our hopeful vision for our city. Denver, your story is my story. Your struggles are my struggles.
No one expected a landlocked city in the middle of the country to become a global competitor. But today, despite hard times and much adversity, we are primed to become a new and unexpected national and international force.
And no one ever thought that this skinny kid from northeast Denver would rise to achieve his dreams of becoming mayor. But thanks to my faith and my family, thanks to the support of neighbors, schools and people all across our great city, I have become the person I am today.
I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had to lift myself up, and for the people who never gave up on me. And as your next mayor, I will not give up on Denver.
I stand up here today joined by a group of people who not only care deeply about all of you and all of Denver, but leaders who are ready to lift up this city. And we stand on the shoulders of great leaders before us.
Mayor Speer knew it was time for Denver to build and celebrate a culture of outdoor spaces and public amenities.
Mayor Stapleton knew it was time for Denver to develop an infrastructure that has made us a national city.
Mayor Peña knew it was time for Denver to open a world-class airport that is making us an international city.
Mayor Webb knew it was time for Denver to open its arms to the world with events like the Summit of the Eight and Pope John Paul's World Youth Day.
And, Mayor Hickenlooper knew it was time to begin making Denver a true regional partner with our neighboring cities.
And, finally, I am ready for all of us to deliver a great city.
It will take great collaboration and creativity to turn the dial from challenges to opportunities.
• While some see a broken budget, I see opportunities to restructure city government into a model of twenty first century efficiency.
• While some see a stagnant economy, I see a chance to make Denver the Start-up and Small Business Capital of the Country.
• While some see a struggling school system, I see a chance to deliver high-quality schools to every neighborhood, every family and every young person.
Some of this work is already underway -- thanks to the foresight of Mayor Vidal, the City Council and many others:
• The Budget Task Force is working on innovative recommendations, including reforms to keep the city's pension plan healthy and sustainable.
• The Safety Manager is beginning to restore the public's trust in our Police Department.
• And since the election, I have already met with more than 100 business leaders and owners to get our economy moving again.
We have hit the ground running and we are ready to lead Denver to the next frontier. More than 700 volunteers and 300 committee members from across the region donated their time, energy and expertise to our Transition Team.
Their work has been essential to a fair and transparent process to select the best and the brightest for our administration and to help us identify the major challenges and opportunities facing Denver.
I have appointed Janice Sinden as my Chief of Staff. We have named former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy as our Chief Financial Officer.
And we have found other outstanding additions to the team. Like Derek Okubo who will become our Director of Human Rights and Community Relations. Derek is a Japanese-American whose father was held at an internment camp. Like me, like many of us, Derek and his family know about overcoming adversity and he will be an outstanding member of our team.
While we've been securing the best team for Denver, we've also been enacting key parts of the People's Plan and my First 100 Days Plan, including the Denver Education Compact and Peak Performance.
But delivering a great city and building a brighter future will not come overnight. This is a marathon Denver, not a sprint. This is a journey that began 153 years ago when Denver became a city. And the steps we take in the years ahead will help determine Denver, 153 years from now:
• We are going to turn the area surrounding DIA into a bustling "aerotropolis" that will drive job growth and become a regional economic powerhouse.
• We are going to turn the entire 22-mile corridor between DIA and Downtown into a Corridor of Opportunity.
• We are going to see through the successful redevelopment of Union Station and build out FasTracks, giving us a transportation network that will become the economic envy of every city in America.
• We are going to ensure that no neighborhood gets left behind and that our local business districts thrive.
• We are going to build even stronger partnerships with our metro neighbors and our state and federal delegations to ensure our forward progress is progress for all.
• And yes -- we are going to find a win-win-win solution to the challenges and opportunities facing the National Western Stock Show.
Denver, I am excited. We are going to deliver a world-class, 21st century city that we can all be proud of. It will require tough, painful decisions, and we may not always agree, but I will always listen. You will always have a seat at the table and a voice in the conversation.
Denver, today not only marks a new day for a new administration, but it marks the first day we come together to deliver a great city for all.
I learned early on in life that when you face tough times, you work as a team and you never give up. I promise I will never give up as your mayor and I will never forget that this is our journey -- together. Later today, I will move into Room 350 at the City and County Building and we will get right to work.
Are You Ready? I sure am. But I cannot do this alone. I need each and every one of you to re-commit to the hard work ahead.
We are all Denver and to ensure that no business, no neighborhood and no family is left behind, I need your energy, your creativity and your feedback. I need you to stand with me, because this journey is our journey together.
Denver, you have made me who I am. You have made our city what it is today, and together we will deliver an even greater city for our children tomorrow.
God bless you, and God bless the great City and County of Denver.
More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "National Western Stock Show subject of a range war between Denver and Aurora."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.