Email insights: Chris Steinocher touts St. Pete’s perfect equality score

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The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce is celebrating a win for equality this week. Mayor Rick Kriseman and other local leaders announced a perfect score on the 2014 Municipal Equality Index.

In an email today, chamber president Chris Steinocher touted the recognition, which is based on the city’s policies, ordinances and available LGBT services. In 2013, the chamber adopted a phrase to go along with its diversity task force, “The Chamber values diversity and equality as core fundamentals of a healthy and vibrant community.”

“It’s ok to dream big.  In fact, sometimes it’s what’s necessary,” wrote Steinocher in an email. “Today we celebrate a great victory in St. Petersburg.  A great example of what  working together for a big, bold, audacious goal can achieve.”

That audacious goal is economic diversity through inclusion. During his statements yesterday at the press conference announcing the city’s perfect equality score, Steinocher and other talked about the importance of accepting differences in creating a business-friendly environment that attracts talented professionals.

“Our Task Force put out the challenge over a year ago – let’s score 100. We engaged our city leaders, administration and key stakeholders in conversations to offer our support for good policies that create a competitive advantage for our business climate,” Steinocher wrote. “By working hand-in-hand with the City of St. Petersburg, we have created an inclusive atmosphere to live, work and thrive.”

Just last year St. Pete scored just 66 out of 100 on the index. This year, St. Pete is one of only three cities statewide to receive a perfect score.

“This scorecard is a calling card for those communities seeking talent and innovation. The best communities embrace diversity and St. Petersburg and our Chamber have a commitment to be the premier destination for working, living and visiting,” Steinocher concluded in his email. “We believe that the best approach to a shared prosperity recognizes and leverages the value of our diversity.”

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email