The race for St. Pete's next mayor is approaching quick. November 7th, St. Pete will chose which Rick to take the city's top job. Current mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker are both working hard to capture undecided voters.
We asked you: What are the biggest issues for you that you hope the next mayor addresses in their term.
While many of you had a range of answers from the pier, sewage issues, lowering taxes, the development of Tropicana Field etc., the issues we heard the most pertain to quality of life. You want to know what St Pete's mayor will do to create jobs, build affordable housing and ensure St Pete doesn't outgrow citizens by becoming too expensive.
We took your concerns to Kriseman and Baker. Both agreed that those concerns matter to them.
Kriseman hopes to continuing focusing on growth in target industries like marine and life sciences, manufacturing, financial services, data anylitics and creative arts and design. Kriseman also set up an Innovation District focusing on:
“Creating good paying jobs in all areas of the city with a significant focus South of Central," he explained.
He's focused on continuing to help the EDC recruit and retain businesses.
“All of those efforts will help us start new businesses and retain the ones here and help them grow," Kriseman added.
Baker hopes to make obtaining permits a much easier process to attract new businesses and help existing ones grow. He also wants to start a "Mayor's Appenticeship" program to help people with a GED get into trade jobs immediately.
“After 4 years you become a certified plumber, an electrician. It’s a career," Baker explained.
Affordable housing is another hot ticket item, as the city adds several new skyscrapers in downtown and the price of rent and homes on the market continue to go up.
“We’re going to take $15 million right off the top to go straight to affordable housing," Kriseman said, assuming the Penny for Pinellas initiative also passes on November 7th.
Baker wants to give away vacant city land to non-profit organizations like Habitat for Humanity. “If a non profit wants to come in and build a house, I will give them those lots," Baker explained.
Both are feeling hopeful in wake of Tuesday's election and whoever is elected could have a big impact on the future of St. Petersburg.