By Samantha Quee and Joie Ha

When you enter Mayor Steve Hogan’s office, you are greeted by a variety of decorations from around the world: two intricately painted Chinese scrolls, an almost life-size wooden sculpture of a fisherman from southeast Asia, and a scarf from Adama, Ethiopia delicately wrapped around the neck of a plush moose head.

Just like the decorations in the Mayor’s office, the city of Aurora is also full of cultural diversity.

“Here in Aurora, when you drive down the street, you see 10 different kinds of international restaurants. When you walk into a grocery store, you see people of various races and ethnicities in their national clothing. When you arrive for a meeting in City Hall, you hear at least three different languages,” said Mayor Hogan.

It is important to Mayor Hogan for the people of Aurora, and the whole of Colorado, to understand why diversity is so important to this city. “We are at a point in time in this country that expansion and diversity is essential, valuable and worth protecting,” said Mayor Hogan.

Born and raised in Nebraska, Mayor Hogan attended the University of Denver. It was during his college years that he had the opportunity to serve as an intern for a Colorado State Representative, which sparked his interest in politics.

“I have the desire to address the issues at the moment, to be involved with the community, and to solve problems. Politics is serious business, particularly in a city the size of Aurora with nearly 350,000 people (approximately half the size of Denver). There are always challenges, but that does not mean we cannot have fun while we address the issues. Politics is for those equipped to guide others, solve problems, and help people look toward the future,” said Mayor Hogan.

Having served as Aurora’s Mayor since 2011, the light rail and commuter rail projects are examples of his many contributions to the city. He also played a key role in starting the Office of International and Immigration Affairs, which is currently thriving.

“The State of Colorado has recently approved the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center project, 10 minutes from Denver International Airport and opening in late 2018. This will not only change tourism in Aurora but in Colorado as a whole,” said Mayor Hogan.

Mayor Hogan also highlighted that Aurora is a less expensive city to live in than Denver, as well as being very welcoming to people interested in establishing small businesses. He also has some precious advice for people who want to be more involved in the Aurora community.

“People planning to open small businesses in Aurora should reach out to City Councilmembers, State Representatives, and State Senators. They should take initiative and find out what is really going on where they want to get involved,” the Mayor shared.

When asked about his hobbies, Mayor Hogan shared that golf, baseball, and football are his top three favorite sports. Due to his busy schedule, he has very little spare time to practice. Instead, Mayor Hogan actually enjoys spending his time on airplanes.

“Being on the plane has now become a strange hobby, because it is the only time that my phone doesn’t ring, I can’t receive email, and I can finally read and relax,” said Mayor Hogan.

When he does take a break, Mayor Hogan spends time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. “Most of them are grown. For generations, my family has progressively moved further west.”

Mayor Hogan is married to his wife Becky, who was born in Seoul, Korea and came to the United States at the age of 6 months, adopted by a family in Oregon.

“Becky was adopted at such a young age, she was raised like any American child. She did not have the chance to visit Korea until we went together in May 2015. We do watch Korean movies and she enjoys Vietnamese food!”

When asked about his own culinary preferences, Mayor Hogan insisted that a good steak dinner is important to him. He loves to go to the Summit Steakhouse on South Havana in Aurora, and also enjoys Italian food from time to time. “My favorite Asian cuisine is Thai, but I enjoy many other types of food, too.”

Clearly, Mayor Hogan is a well-rounded and diverse individual. Aurora is lucky to have him at the helm.