Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Politics

Want to hear from candidates for St. Pete mayor and city council? Here’s another chance.

ST. PETERSBURG — Residents have another opportunity tonight to hear from candidates for mayor and city council.

The latest in a months-long string of forums and debates will start at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bayfront Tower on Beach Drive SE.

The St. Petersburg Downtown Residents’ Civic Association is hosting the forum, which includes candidates for districts 2, 4 and 6 along with appearances by mayoral candidates Rick Baker and Rick Kriseman.

"Those attending might be particularly focused on district 6 because of the location, but we’ll hear from all candidates," organizer Jon Reynolds said.

There will be a 30-minute social period with wine and cheese before the event starts with the city council candidates.

District 2 candidates Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless are vying to replace term-limited Kim Kennedy. Gabbard, 41, is a Realtor who is focused on affordable housing and reducing crime. Harless, 32, a Bank of the Ozarks manager, has been endorsed by Kennedy and is concerned with financial accountability and the need to rebuild the city’s infrastructure.

District 2 covers most of northeastern St. Petersburg up to Feather Sound, the Gateway and Gandy areas.

Council chair Darden Rice, who represents District 4, is being challenged by novice candidate Jerick Johnston, 21, a St. Petersburg native and University of South Florida St. Petersburg student.

Rice is chair of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and is running for her second term on city council. Johnston wants to focus on addressing the sewer issues of the city in an environmentally responsible way and promoting and developing economic growth throughout the entire city.

Justin Bean, 30, and Gina Driscoll, 46, each seek to represent District 6, which includes parts of downtown, the Old Northeast, Midtown, Historic Uptown and the Old Southeast. Driscoll has been endorsed by the council member who currently holds the District 6 seat, Karl Nurse. Bean has been chair of the St. Pete Young Professionals and was a consultant on a proposal to redevelop Tropicana Field.

Both mayoral candidates are expected to make appearances, but there will not be a head-to-head debate, according to the Baker campaign.

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