Mayor Rick Kriseman is sworn in for a second term by Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Mark Shames as the mayor’s wife, Kerry Kriseman, holds the Torah on Jan. 2.
ST. PETERSBURG – Mayor Rick Kriseman was sworn in for his second term Tuesday, Jan. 2 on the step of City Hall. With the arctic air blowing, his words promised a warm and sunny future for the city.
In his short 10-minute speech, Kriseman detailed highlights from his first term such as two new museums, the new police headquarters and the new 26-acre pier, both slated to open late in the year or early next year.
He highlighted his agreement to let the Tampa Bay Rays look in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, which betters the chance of keeping Major League Baseball in the area.
For his next four years, he promised to continue the reduction of poverty in Midtown and other blighted areas in the city.
“African-American poverty is at an all-time low,” he said. “But we’re not declaring victory. We have a long road ahead to ensure sustainable progress that can’t be undone.”
He promised to make St. Pete more energy efficient and to work on the growing transportation issue.
“We can have debates over the merit of rail or other alternative types of transportation, and we can have debates about how to pay for it,” Kriseman stated. “But there is no debating that the status quo is simply not acceptable.”
The mayor also gave an update on repairing and improving the sewer system following more than 200 million gallons in spills.
“Over $100 million has already been spent increasing our treatment capacity and reducing the amount of stormwater that enters our wastewater system,” said the mayor.
Earlier that morning, Brandi Gabbard and Gina Driscoll were sworn in, making the City Council majority female with five women and three men. Lisa Wheeler-Bowman was also sworn in as 2018 council chair, replacing Darden Rice.
For the first time, the Pinellas County Commission (Ken Welch), School Board (Rene Flowers) and City Council (Wheeler-Bowman) will be chaired by African Americans.