District 5 candidate Trenia L. Cox

Trenia L. Cox

After much soul-searching and urging of community leaders and friends, Trenia L. Cox filed campaign paperwork to run for the City of St. Petersburg District 5, which includes the neighborhoods of Lakewood Estates, Pinellas Point and Maximo among others.

Filing the day after the MLK Day of Service, she pondered, “Have I done all that I could do to help the struggling and hurting and is there room to apply all these years of experience to strengthen neighborhoods as the city’s downtown flourishes.”

Cox pondered further that although the enjoyment of retirement is undeniably awesome here in St. Petersburg—having retired just 18 months earlier–her dedication to social change has guided her life and career. At this juncture, she felt compelled to take it to the next level: policymaking.

For almost 20 years with the Juvenile Welfare Board, she had hoped that a tipping point could be reached for struggling children and families in Pinellas County’s under-resourced communities through social programs; however, that struggle continues. So now Cox decided to embrace policymaking as a tool to advocate for the children and families in the City of St. Petersburg and expand upon the success model that transformed downtown St. Petersburg to the “Jewel of the South” to the city’s neighborhoods.

With a successful election, the city’s neighborhoods would become socio-economic engines for change along with its Green redevelopment and sustainability.

Cox feels that St. Petersburg is a destination location for many reasons. It has a thriving downtown with a myriad of diverse businesses, museums, restaurants and a display of art and murals that are unchallenged. The beauty of the beaches and shorelines have warranted national and global recognition.

However, she said, there are two sad realities that blemish the glory of this success: (1) it is enjoyed by not enough locals, and (2) the nearby neighborhoods do not enjoy such a wonderful review.

With this well-documented observation, Cox felt compelled to advocate for greater economic development in these areas with new and expanded businesses staffed by employees with a livable wage and quality education for all students with an emphasis on preparation for focused careers to grow smarter.  She remains the optimist.

Of course, strong neighborhoods must be safe ones, and the partnership with law enforcement ensures that along will narrowing the opportunity gap. Redevelopment must be ongoing with an emphasis on affordable workforce housing and environmentally friendly construction.

The greatest challenge, she feels, would be to narrow the opportunity gap and realize this economic development without a tax increase along with blended partnerships and governmental funding.  All the above would require a compassionate government, effective partnerships with strategic planning and caring citizens of this great city.

The Primary Election will be held Aug. 27.

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