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Michael Hancock Just Secured A Final Term As Denver Mayor. Here’s What He Wants To Do With It

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Photo: Denver Mayor Hancock Colorado Matters 2
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock gestures during an interview with CPR's Colorado Matters Wednesday June 5 2019, the morning after winning re-election to a third term. He beat challenger Jamie Giellis in a runoff vote.

Mayor Michael Hancock fended off a challenge from Jamie Giellis in Tuesday's runoff election to secure four more years as Denver's top dog.

The bitter race had shifted focus from the politics to the personal in the final month between May 7's general municipal election and the June 4 runoff. Hancock had secured 56 percent of the city's vote, according to the final but unofficial results.

Hancock talked to Colorado Matters about his policy plans for his last term, why he would not offer Giellis a role in his administration and why he voted yes on Initiative 302, or "Let Denver Vote."

Interview Highlights

On his plans for an incentivized recycling program to encourage sustainability:

"I think we get a chance to be bold, particularly around the areas of sustainability. We've talked about the pay-as-you-throw system in Denver where we really incentivize the recycling and composting as opposed to throwing away trash. I think it's all for our better good going forward and it certainly will be cost-efficient and more cost-effective for the people of Denver as opposed to managing more and more waste into our landfill, but also more sustainability-beneficial.

We're all focused on climate change and one way to combat climate change, of course, is to be more efficient and sustainable with regards to our waste streams going forward. And so that gives us a chance to really at least take care of that end and again, to incentivize the residents of Denver to be more strategic in terms of what we send to our landfills and get more focused on recycling and composting. Right now, we have an inverted system. It doesn't make a lot of sense and we just got to get smarter and more strategic about it."

On his plans for improving the lives of Denverites experiencing homelessness:

"During the campaign we were working with the business and philanthropic community to raise about close to $16 million to effectuate these opportunities that we want to move forward with.

We were able to accomplish that and we are implementing that now. We already have RFP [request for proposal] on the street and many shelters responded and I suspect that very shortly we'll have new strategies in place that can get people longer-term stays in shelters during the daytime. Access to restrooms, access to washing equipment as well as other opportunities to take showers and things of that nature.

We have expanded shelter beds and we're all going to do some voucher housing, our vouchers for housing. So we'll be able to put an additional 400 to 600 people into temporary housing while we look for permanent housing for them."

On why the success of Initiative 302 doesn't negate a Denver Olympic Games one day:

"We had a lot of polling up to that point that show that it would pass two to one in Denver if we were to ask the question whether or not we should host the Olympic. Throughout the state of Colorado, we passed three to one, and so it was no surprise that that recommendation passed. Actually, that same exploratory committee recommended that we would go to the vote of the people. That we would do a statewide question because though Denver would be the host city and there has to be a host city in every state to host the Olympics to apply for the Olympics the fact is that most of the activities would occur outside of Denver, Colorado. And it would be primarily up in our suburban communities and up in the mountains, of course.

In reality, is that Denver today hosts every year an Olympic-size event in our city called the National Western Stock Show. And so the stock show has greater impact and actually more people who would be in Denver for three weeks then the Olympics would. So we're not afraid of a vote and I'm not surprised that people of Denver voted for it, and I voted for it quite frankly."