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James Scott latest to join fray in St. Pete City Council District 6

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

With the entry of environmental activist James Scott, the list of candidates for St. Petersburg City Council District 6 grows to eight.

The USFSP graduate student announced his candidacy Tuesday morning on the steps of St. Pete’s City Hall.

A December 2014 University of South Florida St. Petersburg graduate in Environmental Science and Policy, Scott is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Florida Studies.

Although he’s been called an environmental activist, Scott is all about sustainability, which he says is about balancing economic, environmental and social priorities. To him, that means not putting clean water ahead of jobs, or jobs ahead of clean water or transportation.

The 29-year-old Daytona Beach resident has lived in St. Petersburg since 2008; his resume replete with accomplishments regarding the environment. Scott established a student-led clean energy fund at USFSP, the State of Florida’s first; he secured a campus commitment to carbon neutrality, and led a net-zero energy parking garage project largely funded by a Duke Energy $1 million SunSense grant.

Scott served as USFSP student body president, noting among his successes in that role the ability to secure funds for the construction of the University Student Center, as well as bringing the campus’s first student health services facility. He also helped establish USFSP student representation on the USF board of trustees.

Ever ambitious, Scott says he’s been thinking of running for public office, specifically District 6, since 2009.

On his campaign website, Scott is asking for input from the community about what issues are important to them, intending to soon begin a ‘listening tour’ of sorts.

“My main message, especially in the primary, is that I’m listening,” he says. “I really want to get out there and have conversations.”

Having said that, he says his agent is about three main points: 1) Improving access to the average citizen to City Hall; 2) Pragmatic leadership that focuses on numbers and talking to key stakeholders; and 3) Sustainability, where he refers to his desire to protect the community from problems related to the insufficient infrastructure, specifically referring to the sewage problems that rocked the city last summer.

Entering the District 6 contest, Scott joins Akile Cainion, Corey Givens Jr., James Jackson, John Johnson, Sharon Russ, Maria Scruggs and Justin Bean.

District 6 covers parts of downtown and South St. Petersburg. Karl Nurse has held the seat since 2008.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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