ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — On August 24, voters in St. Petersburg will decide who should be the next person to lead as mayor in the second-largest city in the Tampa Bay region.
Currently, eight people are running for St. Pete’s top spot. Those in the running include current city council members Robert Blackmon and Darden Rice, Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, State Representative and former St. Pete City Council member Wengay Newton, Restauranteur Pete Boland who owns the Galley, Ship’s Hold and Mary Margaret’s Olde Irish Tavern, 20-year-old USF St. Petersburg student Michael Ingram, Stepping Stone Homeless Shelter founder Torry Nelson and Kenwood Organic Produce owner Marcile Powers. ABC Action News is highlighting each candidate for mayor, including Torry Nelson.
When Torry Nelson sees a problem, he immediately looks for a solution. So, when he heard about a growing homeless problem in St. Petersburg, he took out a loan and bought a property on 14th Avenue South, paying for families to live there free of charge.
“I had the blueprint to end homelessness and my overhead was only $1,500 and I took 12 people off the street a month,” Nelson explained.
Nelson doesn’t shy away from his past, which includes a handful of arrests and a 15-month prison sentence. He says his past has helped him grow and learn and he wants to use those lessons to help others avoid crime.
“I would like to bring the youth in and bring a stop to the violence, make a truce,” he added.
Nelson also wants to focus on affordable housing, economic development and giving people from every neighborhood a chance to be heard.
“St.Pete’s problems are my problems and I have enough energy. I’m up from 7:30 in the morning until 1:30 in the morning,” he explained.
Nelson says clean energy is important and he wants to do more to prevent sewage spills into the bay and other city waterways.
“I think we need to make it affordable for our private residences to tighten up their lateral lines so we can prevent waste spills in the water,” he elaborated.
Nelson says his down to earth nature is what sets him apart.
“I’m a citizen. I’m a regular person. I just come from the heart. Money isn’t an issue to me. It doesn’t define me and I’m the mayor who is going to roll up his sleeves,” Nelson added.
St. Pete's primary election is on August 24. If no candidate earns more than 50% of the vote, the top two will face off in November.
To view Nelson's candidate website, click here.