(Left to Right) Mayors John Suthers, Jackie Millet, Michael B. Hancock, Rick Taggart, and Wade Troxell.
DENVER – The Colorado Chamber today hosted Colorado Business Day, an annual event in which the business community comes together to discuss the legislative session and other key policy issues. Five mayors participated for a panel discussion titled “Mayors Mean Business for Colorado,” including Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Lone Tree Mayor Jackie Millet, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, Grand Junction Mayor Rick Taggart, and Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell.
The mayors came together for a collaborative and often lighthearted discussion about the important issues facing their local communities. Transportation and infrastructure were a common thread among all of the panelists, with every mayor emphasizing the need for additional funding and a statewide solution.
“We’ve gone to the ballot, we’ve asked the voters to fix our roads without increasing taxes,” Mayor Millet of Lone Tree said. “We’ve asked the voters to fix our roads with an increase in taxes. And we’ve asked voters to let us keep the money we’ve already paid in taxes to address our roads… frankly, what I think needs to happen is a bipartisan solution with both Republicans acknowledging that there isn’t enough money to fix the problem within the system today, with Democrats acknowledging there is some money in the system that should be devoted to roads, and leadership at all levels of the state government acknowledging that this is a priority for us.”
“For some reason on the state level, they have not been able to figure out what local governments figured out a long time ago,” Mayor Suthers of Colorado Springs said. “Why do we win over two-thirds of TABOR elections at the local level? It’s because we’re very specific. We do it for a certain amount of time, we say ‘this is how much money we’re going to raise, and this is exactly what we’re going to do with it.’”
The mayors also discussed how growth in Colorado is impacting their local communities.
“No other state has grown like Colorado has in the last ten years, and certainly our cities from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs have felt the growth,” Mayor Hancock of Denver said. “We have the same challenges…. How we respond to this growth is extremely important. How we respond to it in a very pragmatic manner with good policies and good investments is extremely important.” Mayor Hancock pointed to the issues of housing affordability and infrastructure investment in the City of Denver.
“As I think about Fort Collins and growth, for me, it’s less about a number and it’s more about our values,” said Mayor Troxell of Fort Collins. “We’re a university city…. and that’s a true asset. We’re an evergreen community with students always coming and that’s a dynamic that makes a great city… That’s a key part of our economic development strategy.”
On health care, the panel acknowledged the complexity of market forces, managing increased costs, and expanding access.
“We face a problem in rural settings in that we certainly don’t have the competition forces, not only at the hospital level but even at the physician level. We can only afford ‘X’ number of specialists in a community of that nature, so it can be difficult to get our costs down,” said Mayor Taggart of Grand Junction.
The Colorado Business Day discussion was moderated by Colorado Chamber Board Chair Stacey Campbell. View additional photos of the event below.
(Left to Right) Mayors Jackie Millet and Michael B. Hancock.
(Left to Right) Mayors John Suthers, Jackie Millet, Michael B. Hancock, and Rick Taggart.
(Left to Right) Moderator Stacey Campbell and Mayors John Suthers and Jackie Millet.
(Left to Right) Mayors Michael B. Hancock and Rick Taggart.