Jim Kennedy, the current St. Petersburg District 2 City Council member, is endorsing Barclay Harless to be his replacement.
An advocate for maintaining strong reserves and keeping spending in check, Kennedy was appointed to the seat in October 2007 and twice elected by strong margins.
In a statement Friday, Kennedy said the district he will have represented for nearly 10 years has many opportunities ahead, needing strong leadership and a fresh perspective. Over his tenure, Kennedy worked to revitalize the area, and now he is ready to pass the torch.
“We need to keep trust in local government and Barclay will be a budget watchdog, an independent thinker and bring a fresh perspective to city council,” Kennedy said. “Barclay has a clear vision that spending must be in-check and priority projects come first, not frivolous projects.
“We must continue to make transportation improvements in the district, including the Gandy Boulevard work and the San Martin Bridge,” he added. “I stand with Barclay in his campaign and I support him as my successor.”
Harless responds: “I have watched Jim lead with a grounded conviction to fiscal responsibly and I am thankful for his support and advice. Jim knows district 2 and cares about the many neighborhoods here and around the entire city. I’m ready to roll-up my sleeves and continue Jim’s legacy in addition to being a voice for the northern area of our city.”
Harless plans to focus on finding “common-sense solutions” to issues important to the St. Petersburg area: The Pier, Tropicana Field, and the city’s wastewater systems. He said he is committed to growing small, local businesses and engaging his district to better understand their concerns and priorities.
“Barclay continues to lead in fundraising month after month and he is garnering support in his race from local businesses, community leaders and now a key endorsement from the twice-elected Jim Kennedy to replace him – thus sending a strong message to District 2 voters,” said Harless campaign manager Nick Janovsky.
A fifth-generation Floridian, Harless has been involved in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. After graduating from the University of South Florida in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in history, he went to work in the Midtown area of St. Petersburg for State Rep. Darryl Rouson during the height of the economic recession.
Harless has served on the board of R’Club Childcare, Inc., is a member of Equality Florida’s advisory board for the Competitive Workforce Act and has been on the Louise Graham Center for Regeneration board for three and half years. He also served as the state policy chair in the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and on grant boards for the Suncoast United Way.