Our hosts Rev Yearwood and Mustafa Santiago Ali speak with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to talk about how he and Denver are pushing to become more sustainable, as well as how other cities can fight climate change. CEO of As You Sow Andy Behar also joins the show to discuss how to make climate-conscious financial decisions and how to hold corporations accountable.
Mayor of Denver
Michael B. Hancock, who became the city’s 45th mayor in July 2011 and was re-elected overwhelmingly in May 2015, immediately began to transform Denver into a more globally competitive city. With the fifth-busiest airport in the United State serving more than 54 million passengers per year, Mayor Hancock is leveraging Denver International Airport (DIA) to make the entire Denver region a major gateway to the world.
Mayor Hancock has secured several new, nonstop international flights, including Tokyo, Mexico City, Reykjavik and now Paris, Munich, Montreal and Panama City, bringing over $250.4M in economic benefits to the region. These routes are opening new connections between the Rocky Mountain West and Asia, Europe and Central America.
To help the Denver area compete in the global marketplace, Mayor Hancock also is working to create a bustling Airport City and Aerotropolis, which will create more than 30,000 new jobs over the next 20 years. The first phase of these initiatives includes a new 500-room hotel and transit center at the airport, which opened in November 2015, as well as a 20-mile rail line linking Downtown Denver with DIA, which opened on April 22, 2016.
Mayor Hancock has also been named as the first Mayor to serve on the FAA’s Management Advisory Council, where he will bring Denver’s ingenuity to the table as he works to advance major issues on behalf of DIA, other airports and the aviation industry.
Mayor Hancock worked with regional leaders to secure a new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Downtown Denver. The Patent Office will generate nearly $440 million in economic benefits over the next five years and establish Denver as a hub of innovation in the high-tech and advanced-industry sectors. He also worked to secure the relocation of Panasonic Enterprise Solutions to Denver. The new headquarters, which will be located at a future stop near DIA along the rail line, will anchor the area around the Panasonic site and create global showcase for state-of-the-art sustainable community development.
The Mayor has also developed strategic short- and long-term business plans to support and grow Denver’s diverse, intelligent and forward-leaning businesses in emerging industries such as clean energy, bio-technology, telecommunications, aerospace and healthcare. Denver’s economy is at the forefront of American cities, offering among the strongest job and housing markets in the U.S.
The Mayor believes there is nothing more important than helping every young person in every neighborhood compete and succeed in the 21st Century economy. He is aligning all City departments with nonprofits, businesses and educational organizations to better prepare all children for every stage of life through new initiatives such as the Denver Children’s Cabinet and Denver Education Compact.
As Denver and cities across the country emerge from the recession, Mayor Hancock is committed to creating economic opportunity and eliminating inequities and disparities. Top priorities include reducing homelessness, increasing affordable housing options, strengthening workforce training partnerships with community colleges, and finding solutions to chronic mental health and substance abuse challenges in the community.
Mayor Hancock has also brought meaningful reform to the Denver Police and Sheriff Departments by establishing new leadership that has reorganized the department to get highly trained officers out of the office and back onto the streets, as well as provide for the well-being, fair treatment and safety of inmates and the men and women serving this community. These steps together strengthen Denver’s unparalleled quality of life.
Prior to becoming Mayor, Michael Hancock served on the Denver City Council for eight years, including two as City Council President. In his early career, he worked for the Denver Housing Authority and National Civic League, and was the youngest President of an Urban League chapter in America. Mayor Hancock is married to musician and performer Mary Louise Lee, and is the proud father of three children: Alayna, Jordan and Janae.
CEO of As You Sow
Andrew Behar, As You Sow CEO, has 30 years of experience as a Senior Executive and strategist in the cleantech, communications, and life science sectors. Prior to joining As You Sow, Andrew founded and was CEO of a start-up developing innovative fuel cell technologies. He served as COO for a social media agency focused on sustainability and has been a strategic consultant in the nonprofit sector. He is a member of the board of US Social Investing Forum (US-SIF) and is a member of the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Green Finance Advisory Group. His book, The Shareholders Action Guide: Unleash Your Hidden Powers to Hold Corporations Accountable was published in November 2016 by Berrett-Koehler.