DENVER — Mike Johnston has officially become Denver’s new mayor.
Elected in a runoff election last month, Johnston was sworn in as the city’s 46th mayor during an inauguration ceremony at the Denver Performing Arts Complex Monday morning.
During a roughly 10-minute long speech, he told the crowd who filled the auditorium that “Denver is ready for a new dream.”
“Our dream of Denver is that when you land at your lowest, without a job or a place to stay, shackled by addiction or struggling with mental illness, we will not judge you or abandon you. We will not give up on you. We will get you home. We will get you help. We will get you healed,” Johnston said.
As voters pointed out in a survey during the election, Denver is facing several issues, including affordability, homelessness and rising crime, but the mayor didn’t provide specifics of how his administration would handle them during Monday's speech.
Instead, Mayor Johnston, 48, framed the solutions to the challenges the city faces as dreams he is hopeful his administration will make true during his term. Voters are also hopeful that he makes good on his promises.
“Our dream of Denver's a city that belongs to all of us. So if you serve this city, as a nurse or as a teacher, or a waitress or a busboy or a bus driver, you can afford to live in this city and raise a family here every single day,” the mayor said.
But Johnston said he can’t do it alone. He called on citizens to help make Denver “America’s best city,” and stressed a renewed sense of unity.
“For us to succeed, every Denverite must take their own oath. An oath to dream, to serve and to deliver. To dream of a Denver bold enough to include all of us. To serve our city above ourselves. And to march on shoulder to shoulder undeterred by failure until we deliver results. That is our oath,” Mayor Johnston said.
Michael Hancock gave his final address as mayor before Johnston was sworn in. He said it was an honor to serve and thanked the city for trusting him for the past 12 years.
Along with a new mayor, several new city council members were also sworn into office, making history along the way.
"We’re prepared to swear-in city council with six Latinas, the most ever of any gender. We will swear-in the first two out Black LGBTQ+ council members and we will swear in a super majority of women, nine, which coincidentally is the number needed to override the mayor veto," Councilwoman Jamie Torres said as the inauguration ceremony got underway.
Johnston on new Denver city council: ‘A sign of a diverse and powerful’ city
Mayor Johnston commended the diversity of the city council he will be working with for at least his first term.
"Such an extraordinary celebration of the city. Would you take a minute, please? And just enjoy and revel in the incredible gifts and diversity and talents of what this city council brings as a sign of a vibrant, powerful, diverse government—welcome aboard," Johnston said as began his speech.