Over the past four years as Mayor, Michael has worked tirelessly to keep moving Denver forward. Michael grew up in Denver’s neighborhoods and wants to improve this amazing city of ours. That’s why he has:
- Created more opportunities for Denver’s children by providing free access to city recreation centers, pools, libraries and cultural institutions through the MY Denver Card, by expanding the Denver Preschool Program and by investing in before-, after- and summer-school programs.
- Helped strengthen Denver’s economy. Bringing in thousands of new jobs and hundreds of new businesses, Denver now has one the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, is a hub of innovation, and is one of the best places to find a job and start a business.
- Better connected Denver to the metro region with major projects such as Union Station, new light rail stations and transit-focused developments, while also improving Denver’s connectivity to the world with new nonstop flights to Asia, Europe, and Central and South America.
- Kept Denver one of the safest big cities in America by hiring more police officers and firefighters and implementing reforms in the Police Department which have lowered crime rates, reduced response times and increased officer productivity.
Made city government work at the speed of you by eliminating the city’s budget deficit, restoring services such as park maintenance and street paving that were cut during the recession, providing access to more services online and on mobile devices, and by implementing the nationally recognized Peak Performance initiative to improve efficiencies, reduce wait times and save millions of taxpayer dollars.
Michael is the Chair of the National Civic League, the Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Task Force for Educational Excellence, a Co-Chair of the Mayors for Parks National Task Force, and the Vice Chair of National Conference of Democratic Mayors. Michael is also the first local elected official to serve on the FAA’s Management Advisory Council.
Michael loves this place. He grew up here, and dreamed of one day being our Mayor. It was an audacious dream, but the people in his life believed in him. Denver believed in him. Denver gave him a chance to succeed.
Michael grew up here as the youngest of 10 kids, in a big family without a lot of money. Michael attended six elementary schools before settling in at Cole Middle School, where his classmates elected him student body president. Michael is a graduate of Manual High School (Class of 1987), where he served as class president and played wide receiver and safety for the Manual Thunderbolts. Michael’s football career didn’t end there. In 1987, he went to the Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos, as the team mascot.
After high school, Michael attended Hastings College in Nebraska and came home to Denver each summer to work in Mayor Federico Pena’s office. In 1995, Michael earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from CU-Denver.
Tragically, one of Michael’s brothers died from AIDS in 1996. Michael promised his brother he would always fight for justice and fairness and give voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless. Six years later, one of Michael’s sisters was killed by an estranged boyfriend, fueling Michael’s advocacy for victims and his drive to end family violence in our community.
Michael started his career in the early 1990s, holding down two jobs at the Denver Housing Authority and the National Civic League — while also pursuing his master’s degree. Michael joined Metro Denver’s Urban League affiliate in 1995 and became president in 1999.
Michael was then elected to Denver City Council in 2003. His council peers unanimously chose him to serve two terms as council President from 2006-08. He presided over the creation of the Denver Pre-School Initiative, strategies to fight foreclosures, and the implementation of the largest infrastructure improvement effort in city history. Michael was elected Mayor of Denver in 2011.
Today, Michael lives in Green Valley Ranch and is the proud father of three. Michael and his wife, Mary Louise, have been married for 21 years after first meeting in middle school.