Denver council members react to mayor’s Thanksgiving travel plans

Problem Solvers

DENVER, Colo. (KDVR) – Denver City Council leaders said they were surprised to learn Mayor Michael Hancock traveled out of state to celebrate Thanksgiving.

“I think in the environment that we’re facing and as critical as it is, it was selfish. It was hypocritical, and it was a bad decision,” said councilwoman and council president Pro Tem Jamie Torres.  “We’re trying to send a message and encourage folks in the city to do the right thing when it comes to the pandemic.”

Torres said she learned of the Mayor’s travel plans after several concerned constituents emailed her.

“It really felt frustrating…we’re trying to send a message to community to stay home and to stay local, and it just felt frustrating,” she said.

Torres, who suffers from chronic asthma, spent Wednesday afternoon delivering Thanksgiving meals to family members from whom she will be spending the holiday apart.

“We would normally be traveling to Texas to visit my husband’s family. Those are all small sacrifices that we’ve got to put on hold to keep people safe,” she said. “I can’t even picture what COVID could do to my lungs if I get it,” she said.

Councilwoman Candi Cdebaca tweeted a few emojis after learning the news, including a person shrugging their shoulders with their hands up in the air.

Councilman Chris Hinds assured his constituents in a tweet that he would be spending his holiday alone, interacting only with his “councildog.”

The council president, Stacie Gilmore, said she canceled plans to invite her niece to dinner and encourages her constituents to make similar decisions, despite what the mayor has chosen to do.

“I think that we all need to take personal responsibility for our actions, and all I can say is what I’m encouraging my council colleagues to do and myself is to stay at home and to just stay put, and don’t put anybody else at risk,” she said. 

Gilmore said she understands that the decision to remain separated from family during an important time of year is difficult for everyone, even the Mayor.

“As one parent to another, I know that he weighed the risks, and I know that when he returns I would only expect that he would follow and comply with the same directives that he gave all city employees,” she said.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers reached out to Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment for their response to the mayor’s behavior.

“The Mayor will follow the same quarantine instructions that are set forward for anyone travelling out of state,” DDPHE said in an email. “We know that Mayor Hancock understands the guidance and the quarantine instructions, and we have confidence that he will take the appropriate measures before interacting with others outside of his household.”

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment declined an interview and did not provide a statement to the Problem Solvers.

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