ST. PETERSBURG — Despite being unknown to voters, William Hurley plans to run a grass roots campaign for the City Council's District 8 seat.
His says he entered the race because the City Council and mayor ignored residents' wishes on the Pier, which is being replaced with the Lens.
Hurley, 52, cited the council killing the referendum effort by 23,000 voters who signed petitions to get the issue on a ballot.
"The City Council and mayor are not listening to the people," said Hurley. "They should."
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Hurley is a studying respiratory therapy at St. Petersburg College and will finish the program in about 18 months.
He and his wife, Linda, who rent a home in the Historic Kenwood neighborhood, have a son in the U.S. Army and a daughter.
He is also a member of the Council of Neighborhood Associations' leadership class.
Hurley, a Buffalo native and Army veteran, has lived in St. Petersburg for the past 18 years. He has managed 7-Eleven stores across the city and delivered packages as a driver for four years with FedEx Ground.
He is seeking the seat held by council member Jeff Danner, who is term-limited.
Court records show Hurley is mired in financial problems.
In January 2012, he and his wife were discharged from a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is designed to help people work out their debt problems.
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In December, the couple declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy to eliminate $451,000 in liabilities. They listed assets worth $7,700, records show.
The largest debts included credit cards, a mortgage and medical bills.
William Hurley attributed the financial problems to not being able to manage his pizza shop on Central Avenue after coming down with lung ailments.
"It was my nightmare," he said. "I've struggled before. There's a lot of people struggling the same way."
Still, win or lose, Hurley said he wants to help make St. Petersburg a better place to live, work and play.
"I care about every voter the same," he said. "I want to hear their ideas."
Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Mark Puente can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.