ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. David Jolly has been making the rounds with local elected officials since his March 11 election, most recently meeting Thursday with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.
Jolly said he also had met with the mayors of Clearwater, Dunedin and Pinellas Park, plus some county commissioners and other local officials. He said he's gauging their priorities as he takes over the job previously held by his former boss, longtime Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young.
Jolly is a Republican who narrowly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in a hard-fought, expensive campaign. Kriseman serves in a non-partisan office, but is a former Democratic state legislator whose mayoral candidacy received support from the Florida Democratic Party.
Politics aside, both men said their job now is to work together to help citizens.
Kriseman said he spoke to Jolly about several issues, including the idea of financing an apprenticeship program in the city's Midtown area, and the prospect of docking a research vessel at the city's Port. He said Jolly seemed receptive to both ideas.
Kriseman said he was glad Jolly told him "he's going to work on expanding the legislation related to flood insurance to try to expand it so that commercial properties are also covered, which I think is a good thing."
Kriseman, it turns out, was in Washington D.C. last week on the day Jolly was sworn in, and got to see it from the gallery of the U.S. House.
Jolly said the research vessel was "an area where frankly, I think we can find a way to get that one done, working together." He also said he has reopened the congressional office Young used on the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College. He plans to open two more offices and also said he will announce staff appointments soon.
Staff Writer Curtis Krueger can be reached at (727) 893-8232.