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 starting with Robert Blackmon.
At 30 years old, Robert Blackmon became the youngest city council member in St. Petersburg’s history.
“To me, leadership knows no age. You just have to know the issues and have the best ideas. I hope this campaign we focus on it being a war of ideas not a war of personalities,” he said.
As a real estate investor, Blackmon says he has pinpointed issues that he believes slow progress. “We constantly have problems with getting permits on the street fast enough, getting people approved and that costs the business owners’ money and it allows them to not have jobs created for months and possibly even years,” he elaborated.
Blackmon’s top issues include establishing a clear vision for the redevelopment of Tropicana Field, preserving our environment, stopping excessive redevelopment and fighting crime with wrap-around services.
“We need to make sure that everyone in every neighborhood feels comfortable and safe when they put their head on their pillow at night. No matter where you live and no matter how much money you make you deserve to feel safe,” he explained.
Blackmon says transparency will be key which will include giving residents more details about how tax dollars are spent. He also wants to focus on moving city services and jobs to underserved communities.
“My focus is making this city the best it can be for everyone,” he added.
If no candidate earns more than 50% of the vote on August 24, the top two will face off in November. The new mayor will be sworn in January 6 and serve a 4-year term.
To view Blackmon's candidate website, click here.