Yesterday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock delivered the annual ‘State of the City’ address on the grounds of the Denver International Airport. Rather than celebrating the progress Denver has seen since he took office, Hancock largely focused on the problems that Denver still faces today. While briefly mentioning several of the city’s recent achievements, such as adding 60,000 new jobs to the economy, slashing the unemployment rate, and expanding Denver’s public transportation system, Hancock stated that, “This city will not rest until Denver’s success is shared by everyone.”
Hancock zeroed in on the challenges that Denver faces as a consequence of inequality and bias. He highlighted the need for criminal justice reform, improving public education, and increasing opportunities for the disadvantaged. He explained, “We are on the losing end of every type of equity gap you can think of: wages, education, housing, you name it.” He encouraged Coloradans to raise the minimum wage and asked local businesses to “ban the box” (remove the check box on job applications that asks if applicants have a criminal record) so that more members of the community have the opportunity to thrive in Denver’s strong and growing economy.
Hancock promised to better public transportation throughout Denver, reform the criminal justice system, improve public education and develop neglected neighborhoods. Overall, Hancock says he plans to “knock down barriers and create pathways where today there are only roadblocks.” He concluded by affirming, “Opportunity is the right of everyone. Progress does not have to leave anyone behind, it should bring everyone along. And this I commit to you, we will take action to make this vision a reality. Your city will be with you every step of the way. We will show up. We will lean in. We will never give up. And we will succeed. All of us, together.”