St. Petersburg is my home and has been all of my life. I’m proud to have been born, raised and educated right here in my back yard. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of changes in our town; some good and some bad. Many areas in our beloved city have been on a steady rise, while other parts seem to have taken a sharp decline.
The blame on local government can only go so far. At some point, we as residents, taxpayers, and parents, have to take some responsibility for the neglect of our community. Black on black violence, underperforming schools, the proliferation of drugs and gangs and deteriorating neighborhoods are all constant reminders that there is an attack on the institution of family.
You all know the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Question is whatever happened to that village? There was once a time when neighbors looked out for neighbors and took pride in their homes and family. What happened to those days?
If we work together to educate and transform the broken homes, then we can change our neighborhoods. Once we change our neighborhoods for the better, then we can use our city as a catalyst for change across the state and country. This is just the beginning!
The village is in desperate need of leaders with a heart to serve someone other than themselves. For over two years I have lead my neighborhood association, Lakewood Terrace, with a “neighbor to neighbor” approach and I’ll do the very same thing as a leader working for you at City Hall. Serving the citizens of St. Petersburg with an open door policy is how we will get back to advocating for all and not just some. That’s how we will return to that “village” mentality.
I believe that faith and family are the cornerstones of who I am today. My family taught me about service to neighbors and doing whatever I can to better my community. From my faith, I’ve learned that every day is an opportunity to serve and bring people from all walks of life together.
I have this verse I like and it’s posted in my office. Psalms 133 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” That’s what this campaign is all about; uniting the people of St. Pete. Not dividing or pitting us against one another.
Friends, I’ve been where you are. I’m no different than the average Joe. I have had my ups and I’ve had my downs. My dad says it best, “Life is like a game of football. You’ll have your fumbles, but it’s all about how you recovery.”
Every day I leave my house on the way to work thinking about how we, as a community, will recover. I’m optimistic that although we face many challenges as a city, better days are ahead of us, but we must utilize our resources and work together as a team to accomplish the task at hand.
As I take that drive down the southern corridor of Dr. MLK Street I see the blight of poverty, I can’t ignore the bordered up houses and vacant lots. One cannot help but notice the empty grocery store in Tangerine Plaza, or the lack of retail and dining options in the Coquina Key and Pinellas Point shopping plazas.
But I look no further than downtown St. Pete for hope, vision and inspiration. If economic redevelopment can change downtown, imagine what it could do in Midtown? If investing in our infrastructure can catapult a few blocks forward, imagine what would happen if we invested the same amount of money and attention in those neighborhoods throughout our city that need it most.
I’ve highlighted just a few issues that voters will need to think about leading up to the 2017 election in August. However, we should also begin focusing on solutions that address sustainability, water quality and transit across the Tampa Bay region.
I commute to Tampa each day for a fair pay with a good company. Sustainable paying jobs you can support a family on are a rarity in St. Petersburg. It’s up to city and civic leaders to create an environment that is conducive to helping businesses succeed and compete with our friends on both sides of the bay.
As I’ve said on many occasions before, this election is personal for me because it’s an opportunity for me to lead the charge to save our families and our city. We need a representative who will not be afraid to stand up and speak out. We need a city person on city council who will go to the street corners and speak positivity into a negative situation. Someone young boys and girls in St. Petersburg can look up to.
Our city council should reflect the diversity that our city prides itself on. That diversity should celebrate our differences in race, sexual orientation and age. Let’s build on those differences. Let’s embrace the future while respecting the past!
For more information or to get involved with our movement, visit us online at www.CoreyGivens.com
Signed with love, Corey Givens Jr., Candidate for St. Pete City Council District 6