Gershom Faulkner Archives - SaintPetersBlog

Charlie Crist names Gershom Faulkner as Outreach Director

Congressman Charlie Crist has hired Gershom Faulkner as Outreach Director, to serve as the St. Petersburg Democrat’s liaison throughout Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

“Gershom is a great addition to our team,” Crist said Friday. “His dedication to service is unwavering – as a Marine defending our country, and through positions with former Rep. Frank Peterman and Congresswoman Kathy Castor. As a veteran, small-business owner and community leader, Gershom is uniquely qualified to serve as Outreach Director and we are excited to have him come on board.”

After graduating from high school in St. Petersburg, Faulkner joined the Marines where he served honorably during the Gulf War, receiving several commendations. After four years of active duty, he returned to St. Petersburg and began his service to the community, working with Frank Peterman, Jr. during his tenure as both a city councilman and state representative.

Before mounting a run for city council, Faulkner worked on several local and statewide campaigns, including Betty Castor‘s 2004 senatorial campaign and Kathy Castor‘s successful 2006 congressional campaign, afterward joining her office as Outreach Director.

During the 2016 cycle, Faulkner volunteered on the Crist for Congress campaign.

Faulkner expressed his thanks to Crist in a statement:

“I am pleased and honored to accept Congressman Charlie Crist’s offer to become our Representative’s Outreach Director. This is a position I did not seek but am honored to accept since I have a passionate desire to serve the community and have a firm faith in Congressman Crist’s ability to represent all people in our community in Washington.

“As President Obama evolved on the issue of gay marriage and LGBTQ issues, so too have I evolved. Like Congressman Crist, I am a strong advocate for equal rights and equal protection under the law for the LGBTQ community. I understand that in this ever-changing world, it is imperative to have a representative who is sensitive to the needs of everyone, not just the few or the privileged.

“Regardless of a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or gender identification, I will work collaboratively with the community as a member of the Congressman’s staff to ensure that every voice is heard and that the needs of all the people are always my first priority.

“I am a veteran of the Gulf War who served in the United States Marine Corps. I was honorably discharged as a Sergeant. After leaving military service, I served as a legislative aide to former State Representative Frank Peterman Jr., and Outreach Director to Congresswoman Kathy Castor, I truly believe that my knowledge of how government works and my strong relationships within the district, will serve Congressman Crist well as his Outreach Director.

“The challenges facing African-Americans, the LGBTQ community, Hispanics, refugees, labor unions and women’s rights, are ALL issues that I stand ready to tackle – relaying solutions to the Congressman as articulated by his constituents.

“I am honored and excited to begin this new chapter of service to my community and my country. I will do everything in my power to live up to the trust placed in me by Congressman Crist. I am looking forward to helping citizens find solutions to their issues and restore the notion that government is an instrument of good for all people.”

Faulkner currently serves on St. Petersburg’s Civil Service Board and previously sat on the Southside St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) ad hoc Planning Committee. He is also President-elect of the St. Petersburg Midtown Rotary Club and serves on the board of the Neighborly Care Network.

What is Rick Baker’s endorsement really worth?

Now that Rick Baker is saying he could endorse a candidate in the primary after previously indicating he would wait until the general election, let’s take a look at the real or perceived value of a Baker endorsement.

Let’s begin with the obvious: Baker can’t endorse Jamie Bennett. Despite the fact that Bennett is the closest Baker has to a political heir, he just cannot waste his endorsement on Bennett. (What a shame, because if all had gone well, Bennett could have won had Bennett endorsed him.)

Also, Rick Baker isn’t going to endorse Kathleen Ford, although that’s what I think Baker’s endorsement is going to be all about. Now that the poll results indicate Ford to be a genuine threat to succeed (I use that word loosely) Baker, Hizzoner is going to have to get off the sidelines.

His endorsement is as much about opposing Ford as it is about supporting someone else.

That’s why Baker cannot endorse Deveron Gibbons. If Baker endorses Gibbons, that all but shuts down Bill Foster (who I hear is still having fundraising issues) and moves the general election closer to a Gibbons vs. Ford run-off.

As much as Gibbons dreams of facing off against Ford, she will not be easy to beat. In fact, I’d take Kathleen in an upset. Deveron is already having trouble making progress with the average white voter. And he won’t get anywhere with Democrats, progressives, or angry voters west of 34th Street.

In other words, Foster beats Deveron who beats Kathleen. But Foster doesn’t make the primary to beat Deveron or Kathleen if Baker legitimizes Gibbons’ campaign with an endorsement.

There’s also another scenario to game out: what if Baker were to endorse Scott Wagman, in a Nixon goes to China moment. If Baker looks past their ideological differences, maybe he’ll find a kindred soul: a technocratic executive viewed as an insider to the outsiders and an outsider to the insiders. Wasn’t that what many thought of Baker before he was elected?

Baker’s endorsement of Wagman would be a complete game changer and in a way that might appeal to Baker. Think it out for a second: if Baker endorses Gibbons, Baker gains really nothing. Everyone that supports Gibbons already supports Baker. Same goes for Bill Foster, except for the reason I explained above.

But if Baker were to endorse Wagman, that would signal to several voting blocs — the downtown boys, like Charlie Harris and John Long, city employees loyal to Baker, some elements of the police department — that it was OK to vote for Wagman. This could be just enough of a push for Wagman to get past two of his other opponents and make the general election.

Of course, Baker’s endorsement is what it is. Let’s not forget that Baker recently endorsed Ed Montanari over Bill Dudley, Gershom Faulkner over Wengay Newton and Earnest Williams over Darryl Rouson. You know how well that all turned out.

In fact, with that in mind, maybe Baker should just endorse Kathleen Ford.

Kendrick Meek comes to Atwater’s

U.S Senate hopeful Kendrick Meek spent time in St. Petersburg this afternoon, meeting with community leaders, elected officials and prominent local Democrats, including Frank Peterman and St. Pete city council members Karl Nurse and Jamie Bennett. Republican Deveron Gibbons was also in the crowd. Congressman Meek was accompanied by Gershom Faulkner and Anna Cruz. Vistorious from the battle over the stimulus package, Meek delivered a reassuring message about what will be done next in Washington.
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