Scruggs in St. Pete City Council race
Maria Scruggs, the president of St. Petersburg’s NAACP chapter filed Friday for City Council, saying she wanted to make sure Midtown had a say in its own redevelopment and struggling schools.
Scruggs, 59, is no stranger to political races. She lost to Rick Baker in the 2001 mayoral race. In 2004, she lost to Ken Welch for a seat on the Pinellas County Commission. And in 2005, she finished third in a five-person primary field for a City Council seat eventually won by Earnest Williams.
Scruggs said her disagreement with how Mayor Rick Kriseman’s administration is redeveloping Midtown with the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area is one impetus for making another run at public office, this time for the District 6 seat.
Another is the struggling schools in Midtown. And a need to strengthen early childhood education, especially in neighborhoods that feed into those schools, identified in the Tampa Bay Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning “Failure Factories” series.
“We’ve done things a certain way and we’ve gotten the same results. We don’t have a lot to be proud of in south St. Pete,” Scruggs said Friday. “But we have a community that’s ready now.”
Scruggs said she’s a proven leader that can get results. Currently, she drives 1,500 miles a week commuting between her Midtown home and the Orlando area where she manages pretrial diversion and release, drug-testing and other services at the Orange County jail.
Her work at the NAACP and as chairman of the board of Happy Worker’s, a child care center in Midtown, proves that she is adept and using her time efficiently, Scruggs said.
If elected, her focus will be on bringing jobs and more community involvement into the redevelopment efforts in Midtown, an effort under Kriseman of which she has been highly critical.
“We’ve got to move away from this planning process in a vacuum,” Scruggs said.
Council member Karl Nurse, who has represented District 6 since 2008, is stepping down because of term limits.
Corey Givens, a Lakewood Terrace activist, is also in the race as is longtime activist Sharon Russ. The field is expected to grown even more crowded before the filing period ends in June.
District 6 stretches from Midtown north to parts of the Old Northeast, covering downtown.
The primary is Aug. 29.