Becoming the first Hispanic person to serve on the St. Petersburg City Council, Lisset Hanewicz on Tuesday defeated Tom Mullins, a Raymond James investment banker, in the District 4 race.
Hanewicz led Mullins with about 54 percent of the vote, compared to Mullins’ 46 percent.
Hanewicz, 50, will replace Council member Darden Rice in District 4, an east-central district that covers an area from Interstate 275 to the coast from Ninth Avenue North to 30th Avenue North, then runs east from Interstate 275 until about 77th Avenue North. First elected in 2013, Rice ran for mayor and lost in the August primary.
Hanewicz also got the most votes in the primary election that involved four other candidates.
A former state prosecutor and president of the Crescent Lake Neighborhood Association, Hanewicz said she wants to ensure every neighborhood is a safe location and to support vulnerable populations.
She also wants to ensure St. Petersburg retains its character while allowing for affordable housing. Changing zoning laws to allow for more density can assist with that, she said.
Hanewicz and Mullins clashed earlier in the campaign when Mullins put out a mailer saying that the public employee unions who endorsed Hanewicz were “simply looking for a candidate willing to throw taxpayers under the bus.”
The head of police and firefighter unions who backed Hanewicz quickly denounced Mullins’ comments. Mullins stood by them, though, saying that while he supports first responders he felt the unions didn’t like him because he emphasized he would watch out for taxpayers.
Mullins, a registered Republican, has emphasized minimizing property taxes and avoiding the pitfalls he said other progressive cities have fallen into.
Mullins was the top self-funder in the Council races, chipping in nearly $200,000 of his own money, nearly all of his total contributions. He reported his net worth at about $32 million, a disclosure that he said cost him contributions.
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