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Rick Kriseman files to challenge St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster

ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Kriseman made it official: He wants Mayor Bill Foster's desk and parking spot at City Hall.

The former City Council member and state representative filed paperwork Monday to challenge Foster in this year's election. He plans to draw a distinction between Foster and himself of the campaign trail.

"I'm looking forward to this being a campaign of ideas, about policy and about vision ...," said Kriseman, who was flanked by his family on City Hall steps.

If elected, Kriseman pledged to immediately help economic development by creating a climate that would be attractive to businesses. He criticized Foster for not being more active in luring businesses to the city.

Foster also promised a spirited campaign between now and the August primary. He acknowledged that Kriseman is a credible opponent.

"The good news is that we both have a record to run on," Foster said.

He declined to comment on Kriseman's criticism, adding: "We have the next nine months."

Kriseman is familiar with City Hall.

He was appointed to the City Council in 2000 to fill a vacancy and won elections in 2001 and 2003. He resigned the council seat in November 2006 to run for the Florida House, where he was elected in 2006, 2008 and 2010. He did not seek re-election in 2012.

Foster also faces perennial candidate Paul Congemi in the August primary.

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Rick Kriseman files to challenge St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster 02/11/13 [Last modified: Monday, February 11, 2013 11:28pm]

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