Thursday, May 24, 2018
Politics

Activist Darden Rice announces run for St. Petersburg council

ST. PETERSBURG — Local civic activist Darden Rice announced Thursday that she is running for St. Petersburg City Council.

Rice said she will seek the District 4 council seat being vacated by Leslie Curran, who is term-limited.

In a news release, she touted her plan for the city, which she dubbed "St. Pete Strong."

"It is based on three foundations for the health of the community," Rice said.

"It includes ensuring strong businesses and jobs; healthy and vital communities and neighborhoods; and effective city services."

Specifics of the plan were posted on Rice's campaign website, votedardenrice.com.

Her webiste also detailed her stance on city issues, including red light cameras, the Pier, the Tampa Bay Rays and other local political issues.

Rice, 42, previously expressed interest in running for Curran's seat, but recent proposed changes to district boundaries placed her home in a different district.

Reached via phone late Thursday, Rice said she decided to move in order to remain qualified for the race.

"I am a resident of District 4 and I will continue to be a resident of District 4," she said.

Rice added that she has a home in the Old Northeast neighborhood and a contract on a home in Woodlawn.

A longtime civic activist, Rice is the immediate past president of the League of Women Voters of St. Petersburg.

She also chairs the legislative committee of the PSTA transit board.

In the past, she has worked for a series of environmental and political groups, including the Sierra Club and the Gulf Restoration Network.

This isn't the first time she has sought political office. In 2005, she made her first run for City Council and lost to Earnest Williams.

In 2008, Rice ran in the Democratic primary for Pinellas County Commission, but lost to Renee Flowers, who was defeated in the general election by Nancy Bostock.

Times news researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

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