Souls to the Polls urged voters to cast their ballots!

souls polls, featured

BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – Local churches and community organizations came together Sunday to pull off a three location Souls to the Polls rally to promote early voting. Rallies took place in Gulfport, the Childs Park Recreation Center and downtown in Williams Park.


Mayor Rick Kriseman said this is the most important election ever because “all of our rights are on the line…If you don’t exercise your right to vote, you could lose that right,” he averred, speaking in Williams Park.

He told the large crowd on hand that they have a chance to make history this year by electing the first woman president just as they did back in 2008 with the election of President Barack Obama.

Before bringing former Governor Charlie Crist on stage, Kriseman encouraged everyone to vote for someone who will fight for St. Pete residents.

Souls to Polls Kriseman, featured“We have a chance to have someone in Congress who’s from St. Petersburg, who’s fighting for St. Petersburg and who knows what’s important to help us here in St. Petersburg, and that’s Governor Crist.”

Childhood friend and President & CEO of the Pinellas County Urban League Watson Haynes took to the stage to tell some personal stories of his friend Crist, whom he refers to as his brother.

He told a little bit about how Crist was raised during the segregation years. His father volunteered to be the physician for the Gibbs High School football team when no other doctors were available, and how black patients who came to his father’s house, where his office was located, walked through the front door instead of the back, which was normal practice 40 years ago.

“This man has a passion for people,” said Haynes. “He will serve the people and do what’s right.”

In an interview last week, Crist stated that one of his top priorities would be to protect Social Security by ensuring that “it will always be available to provide basic income for those who have worked so hard and deserve a secure retirement.”

Presently there is a cap on how much even the wealthiest have to pay into the system, and by lifting that cap so everyone pays their fair share, Crist said Social Security will be there for our parents and grandparents – as well as for our kids and grandkids.

“Above all, I’m an optimist,” said Crist when asked about the difficulties of working in the minority Democratic Party in Congress.

“I believe we can get good things done for our country and our community if we look past party to the things that unite us all,” he said.

With leadership as governor under his belt, Crist has extensive experience working with strong leaders on both sides of the aisle “to come together to find good solutions that can work for everyone.”

“I expect that we’ll continue with the positive steps that President Obama has taken for our country when Hillary Clinton is our next president!”

Before leading voters to the Supervisor of Elections office on Fifth Street to cast their early votes, Crist said, “If you’re not at the table, meaning you voted, you’re probably on the menu.”

Both Crist and his opponent Republican incumbent David Jolly spent the morning visiting churches and encouraging early voting.

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