New candidate for City Council District 7

ST. PETERSBURG – Sheila Scott Griffin is the latest candidate to throw her hat in the race for District 7. Using the motto of “Our Game Changer,” Griffin joins community activists Lisa Wheeler-Brown and Aaron Sharpe as contenders for termed out Councilman Wengay Newton’s seat.

“I have come to listen to our community and take a stand that insists that the possibilities and needs of District 7 are nurtured and strengthened.  My platform’s primary focus is on issues of family, education and economics,” Griffin said.

She is known in the community for mentoring youth, helping families and adding structure for building sustainable conscientious businesses.   As a candidate, her resume is impressive in serving on local, regional and state boards and tackling urban -regional planning, community development, conflict resolution and human resource management.

Why now?  

Griffin — The city is in a crucial time of transition and efforts toward fulfilling aspirational vision and re-development.  We are growing into the city we proclaim we are.  But for the average person in District 7 Midtown and the west end of town, the building has yet to show evidence of progress.  I have lived here within the communities of Melrose, Perkins, Broadwater, Thurgood Marshall (Child’s Park) and the west end near Pasadena.  This is our community and I long to see it thrive.

Why you?

I care and bring to bear knowledge that is diverse enough to see the whole picture.  Government tackles social issues, corporate, property, finances, policy and more.  My success and failures have both prepared me well to hear divergent opinion and work for solutions that ignite the community.  I partner with my friend and primary motivator, my spouse, Michael Griffin. Our family is committed to service and improving what is great about St. Petersburg.

Success and failures? 

I achieved great successes and much grace in raising natural and foster children; with jobs with federal courts and regional agencies; as well as, academics accomplishments in law, public administration and theology.

The one constant is community service that not only changed the lives of others but brought with it an increase in my heart’s capacity and personal growth in understanding people.

She talks about the joy of marriage and true friendship with her spouse, Michael Griffin, as unending. She gives credit to her close-knit family, friends and community for the over 35 years of business, academic and community success.

But like Iacocca, Trump and many others, she has experienced the devastating lament and pangs of failure also. There was great sorrow when her former spouse was paralyzed as a young adult at work and then died at the young age of 44 leaving her with three young adults ready for college.

There were also recent pangs.  Griffin followed her parents, Bernard and Bettye Scott, into the entrepreneurial spirit of business ownership, but her law business closed its doors abruptly.

“The law firm closure left scars and incisions in my soul of debt, evictions, judgments and loss of name and reputation among clients.”   She went on to say, “First, one pastor client went to federal prison and I was left with his 18 civil cases, and within 30 days another client declared bankruptcy leaving a large four month debt to the firm.

“There was no way to stay afloat.  Even during the recession, it was impossible for me to imagine that in 2006, I could work from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and on weekends and not succeed.”

She accepts responsibility for her failures and admits that more caution could have changed the negative narrative.  Then she paused and said, “But, there was a lesson for me, even in the breaking of my spirit: be deliberate; plan for the hidden presumptions and then you can better protect others.”

What will you bring that’s different to city council, if elected?

Oscar Wilde said that, ‘Experience is the name men give to their mistakes.’ I offer both the triumph I have known in victories in the battles of life and the soberness I have learned in unpredictable life disappointments.  I now help others to develop not only conscientious but sustainable planning to go through the long haul.

My business experience taught me that even though thing looks beautiful in the city, we must plan for future generations and for difficult times. I am entering this race because; I have learned vital keys to enjoying today are sunshine and building for torrents of rain. This is a great city and I have the passion, leadership skills and experience to serve as city councilwoman for District 7, as one who respects and attentively listens to our neighbors.

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