Halfway through his first term as St. Petersburg mayor, Rick Kriseman has been on a roll of late. Moving up from 11th place in last year’s survey, he also appears likely to win re-election next year.
One of his biggest victories came in January, when City Council approved a deal to let the Tampa Bay Rays look for a new stadium site in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
The mayor also earned much goodwill and national prominence in December when he reacted to Donald Trump’s call to temporarily ban Muslims into the U.S. by tweeting that he was barring Trump from St. Pete.
It wasn’t the first time the progressive-leaning official had gone on Twitter to mock a conservative. After Glenn Beck had said last summer that St. Pete was a “city to avoid like the plague” because of its supposed lack of religion, Kriseman tweeted that it was “an honor.”
Kriseman has led the effort to start a water ferry service from St. Pete to downtown Tampa this year. He made house calls to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, and both the Pinellas and Hillsborough county commissions to get community buy-in.
Not everything is rosy in St. Petersburg, though. An epidemic of gun violence has rocked the Southside, and Kriseman announced last month a plan to carve out $1 million in this year’s budget to begin work on four key areas in South St. Pete.
“Mayor Kriseman is a sleeping giant in the small world of Florida politics,” said Democratic National Committee member Alan Clendenin. “A talented administrator, he navigates his days as mayor focusing on the daily duties but never loses site of a long-term vision for all of St. Petersburg.”
Progress Florida’s Mark Ferrulo labels Kriseman’s two-years-plus as mayor as “tectonic.”
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