Candidate Torry Nelson

ST. PETERSBURG — Torry Nelson is running for mayor and believes he has innovative ideas for leading the city. In spite of having a criminal record, including domestic violence, he feels he’s the right person for the job.

Nelson, who has run a homeless shelter for over a decade, said he’d want “to double down with the engineers and see if we can build stronger sea walls for our coastlines” regarding the coastal high areas and rising sea levels.

In recent years, the city has faced significant sewage overflows resulting in a state order for costly improvements, and Nelson believes transporting wastewater and putting it to use.

“We have agricultural businesses, and I think we can possibly sell that water and distribute that water to these agricultural farms,” he said. “Right now, I think the average rate is like two dollars a gallon. So maybe if we can take some of our funding and develop some kind of trucks to transport some of that water to the local farms. Wherever we need to transport this wastewater, I think it’s good for plants.”

Nelson expressed doubts about whether the current public infrastructure can sufficiently handle the surge in new development, as the city has what he believes is an outdated sewage system.

As for navigating the Tropicana site redevelopment as mayor, Nelson said he would like to reach out to the Tampa Bay Rays and ask them about their future role in the city.

“I know the relationship has been soured over the years, but I want to sit down and see what are your true intentions,” he said. “I know that you haven’t made your investment back, and right now, they don’t have much community support. We have to boost community support to get more people at the games, and we have to help them out a little bit.”

Regarding the relationship between the city and officials in Tallahassee, Nelson said we need to be more innovative to not rely on state funding as much.

“We’ve got to be resourceful,” he explained. “We’ve got wastewater; we’ve got to sell the wastewater. We can make money off our waste.”

Nelson believes participation from the citizenry in generating the city’s annual budget would be beneficial.

“Two brains are better than one,” he said, “so we collaborate in an effort together to build our community together.”

To ensure the city’s police department is an accountable, transparent body for all citizens, Nelson said he would take a “hands-on” approach as mayor.

“I know I would be hands-on,” said the Lakewood High School graduate. “I would be down at the police department; I would know every procedure, every report. I would be there as much as the chief.”

Nelson said he would “not outsource all this work” and keep it in-house in what he views as a different approach from the current administration.

“It’s like you’re going outside your home, and I don’t want to go outside of our home,” he said. “I would like our money to pass our hands three, four, five times before we go outside our community. We’ve got qualified people around here that can do the work; why don’t they get the jobs? Why do we have to outsource to some company we like here just because quote-unquote they can do it faster or they can do it better? We’ve got just as many capable people right here.”

Nelson sees his energy as an asset in his run to become mayor.

“I have a lot of energy,” he asserted. “Since I’ve been running, I can’t sleep past 7 a.m. My brain wakes up, races; I’m thinking, ‘How can I be a better mayor? How can I be a better candidate? How can I make the city better?'”

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