Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Now officially on the ballot, Corey Givens Jr. lays out platform

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Petersburg City Council District 6 candidate Corey Givens, Jr., officially qualified for the ballot Thursday and said he was pleased to do at the same time that the city was raising the Pride flag at City Hall.

“The sun is shining bright in St. Petersburg today. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this milestone occasion, than by celebrating with our allies in the LGBTQ community.” Givens said in a statement. “I’m uplifted by the intensity of the spirit for change and I’m inspired by this renewed yearning for new leadership in local government. Our situations may be vastly different, but our desire for progress is very much the same.”

The 25-year-old Lakewood Terrace Neighborhood Association also unveiled his platform on his website on Thursday. He says it’s an assortment of ideas and goals that he’s come up with based on meeting with voters over the past six months. They include:

— A call for a $15-per-hour minimum wage for city employees.

— Provide business tax incentives to credit unions to establish branches in socioeconomically challenged communities.

— Increase funding for FREE trolley service to include more routes within neighborhoods that lack access to public transportation, food, and livable wage paying jobs.

— Develop a citywide Early Childhood Development Initiative that aims to ensure children ages zero through five are healthy, well-cared for and ready to succeed in school.

— And partner with local schools, artist, and musicians to integrate performing arts into city-operated after school care programs.

“People are tired of politicians and the media deflecting from the issues. They’re tired of the political division,” Givens Jr. says. “We’re no longer looking back at the past; we’re looking forward to fixing the real issues that real people face daily. I’m talking about quality of life issues such as safe and sustainable living, better regional transportation, educational equity, and improved access to local government. ”

It hasn’t been the best month for the highly ambitious USFSP graduate.

He was the subject of an unflattering report regarding a campaign contribution that he was accused of pocketing into his own coffers. He did report $825 in campaign contributions for the month of May.

Two of the other eight candidates in the race, Justin Bean and Jim Jackson, also qualified for the race on Thursday.

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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