The City Desk: St. Pete Looks Forward to Era of ‘Proud Progressivism’
The City Desk is a monthly column written by and about St. Petersburg. This month, Mayor Rick Kriseman invites residents to his Jan. 2 swearing in ceremony and looks to a future in which St. Pete is known as “an innovative, creative, and competitive 21st Century city.” (If other cities in the Tampa Bay area would like a monthly column, give us a ring or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
By Rick Kriseman, Mayor, St. Petersburg
The holiday season is in full swing and 2018 is just around the corner. I am looking forward to not just a new year, but a new term in office serving the city and people I love.
We’ve accomplished so much in just four years, and made great strides toward many of our goals. I expect the next four years to be as fruitful and exciting, especially given the planned openings of the Pier and Pier District, two new museums, a new police station, a regional skate park, and various more amenities throughout our city. This is truly a special time to live, work, and play in St. Pete.
I hope you will consider joining us when we kick off another four years at noon on Jan. 2. To ensure that there is room for everyone, I will again be sworn-in outside, on the steps of City Hall. To me, there is no better place to celebrate new beginnings than in our famous sunshine.
“We will become a daring city…a beacon of progress.”
Jan. 2, 2014
One of my primary focuses as mayor has been to elevate our city, to emerge from Tampa’s shadow (while still cooperating as a region), and to build a reputation as an innovative, creative, and competitive 21st Century city. Thanks to the passion and dedication of our city team, eight council members, and the more than 250,000 citizens we serve and represent, we are well on our way to attaining that vision. And our proud progressivism is illustrated not just by the rainbow flag that flies above City Hall in June, but by the ordinances we’ve passed, the policies we’ve implemented, and the stances we’ve taken. In St. Pete, we’re not afraid to take risks, challenge the system, or our wrongheaded president.
We’re also not afraid to tackle the big problems. The infrastructure challenges that plagued half of my first term are being addressed head-on, as is the threat posed by a changing climate and rising tides. In fact, I was in Chicago recently with mayors from around our nation and world to sign the Chicago Charter, a first-of-its-kind international charter on climate change and an articulation of our commitment to the Paris Agreement abandoned by President [Donald] Trump.
Opportunity also abounds in St. Pete.
“Hard-to-hire” job seekers are finding it easier to be employed; our city government’s paid parental leave policy has received national attention; and we’re on pace to pay our minimum wage workers $15 per hour by 2020. Finally, our community’s approach to poverty eradication appears to be working. Today, the African-American poverty rate in St. Pete is at an all-time low. But we’re not declaring victory, for there’s a long road ahead to ensure sustainable progress that can’t be undone. That’s why I sought reelection, and why I am grateful for the honor of serving in this capacity for four more years.
It is my sincere hope that these holidays help to bring us closer together, that we are able to put aside the rancor that too often accompanies our political conversations, and look ahead to a bright and prosperous new year in the Sunshine City. I hope to see you on Jan. 2.
For information about St. Petersburg, go to stpete.org.
Photo of Mayor Rick Kriseman courtesy of the city of St. Petersburg.
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