|Mayor of St. Petersburg|
January 2, 2014
|Preceded by||Bill Foster|
|Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 53rd district
November 21, 2006 – November 20, 2012
|Preceded by||Charlie Justice|
|Succeeded by||John Tobia|
August 2, 1962 |
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Kerry A. Kriseman|
|Children||Jordan Erin, Samuel Anthony|
|Alma mater||University of Florida (B.S.)
Stetson University (J.D.)
Rick Kriseman (born August 2, 1962) is a Democratic politician who currently serves as the Mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida. Prior to his election as Mayor, he served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives, and represented the 53rd District from 2006 to 2012.
Kriseman was born in Detroit, Michigan, and moved to the state of Florida in 1972, where he attended Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport. He then matriculated to the University of Florida, graduating with a bachelor's degree in broadcasting in 1984. Following graduation, Kriseman attended the Stetson University College of Law, receiving his Juris Doctor in 1987. He was active in local politics, serving as a charter member of the Lake Pasadena Neighborhood Association and working as State Representative Lars Hafner's campaign manager.
St. Petersburg City Council
Kriseman ran for a seat on the St. Petersburg City Council in 1999, challenging incumbent City Councilman Robert Kersteen. Though voter turnout was low, the city's purchase of the Sunken Gardens, which was on the ballot as a referendum, increased voter enthusiasm about the election. Ultimately, Kriseman lost to Kersteen by a wide margin, receiving 41% of the vote to Kersteen's 59%. However, when Kersteen resigned from the City Council to unsuccessfully run for the State House in 2000, Kriseman was appointed to replace him. He ran for re-election in 2001, just several months after his replacement, and faced Dennis Homol, Sr., a wastewater treatment plant mechanic. Kriseman campaigned on his plans to raise the city's quality of life by promoting economic development and effective law enforcement, and expressed his support for an ordinance to ease regulations for homeowners seeking to add bedrooms to their homes, while Komol campaigned on his support for building desalination plants. He won re-election over Komol in a landslide, winning 76% of the vote to Komol's 24%. When he ran for re-election in 2003, he was challenged by Komol once again, who attacked Kriseman and the City Council for being too friendly and not debating enough. Kriseman disputed Komol's assertion, pointing out that he regularly voted against Mayor Rick Baker, specifically when he voted against a mayoral pay raise and when he voted for allowing alcohol sales on Sundays. He campaigned on a "progressive" vision for the city, which included support for "pedestrian safe zones, land-banking, live Internet access to council meetings and creative use of swimming pools such as holding "dog paddles" so people can bring their pets to swim," noting that government can be "about creating opportunities for fun, too." Once again, Kriseman won re-election overwhelmingly over Komol, and received 76% of the vote again.
Florida House of Representatives
When incumbent State Representative Charlie Justice opted to run for the Florida Senate rather than seek re-election, Kriseman ran to succeed him in the 53rd District, which included parts of Gulfport, Lealman, Pinellas Park, and St. Petersburg in southern Pinellas County. He was challenged in the Democratic primary by commercial attorney Charlie Gerdes. Kriseman and Gerdes both campaigned positively throughout the election, with both candidates agreeing on education and property insurance. Kriseman, however, emphasized his progressive credentials, noting that he was "socially liberal," and expressed his support for higher teacher pay, smaller classroom sizes, mandatory community service for high school students, and the Save our Homes cap. Ultimately, Kriseman ended up defeating Gerdes by a wide margin, receiving 64% of the vote to Gerdes' 36%, and advanced to the general election, where he faced Thomas Piccolo, the Republican nominee and a former student body president at University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Kriseman and Piccolo both emphasized their legislative experience, with Kriseman drawing upon his tenure on the City Council's Legislative Affairs and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, where he pushed for legislation that would benefit the city. Owing to the liberal nature of the district, the contest was not close, and Kriseman won his first term easily, receiving 60% of the vote to Piccolo's 40%.
During his first term in the legislature, he authored legislation that would have put a $1 tax on strip club admissions to increase Medicaid allowances for seniors from $35 per month to $70 per month and legislation that would have required drivers "to stop at certain intersections when a pedestrian is either in, or steps into, a crosswalk." When the state's no-fault automobile insurance law was set to expire before the legislature could renew it, Kriseman urged then-Governor Charlie Crist to convene a special session to renew the law, but Crist declined to do so.
Kriseman was re-elected without opposition in 2008. In 2010, he won the Democratic primary uncontested, and faced Thomas Cuba, the Republican nominee, in the general election. Cuba did not present a significant challenge to Kriseman, and he won re-election with 59% of the vote. He opted against seeking re-election in 2012, declaring, "I've been in office for 12 years, the last six in Tallahassee, and it's been extremely challenging and frustrating being up there fighting a system that I think is broken. It's time to come home and focus on my family and law practice, and figure out what is next for me in politics."
Mayor of St. Petersburg
After retiring from the legislature, Kriseman announced in 2013 that he would challenge incumbent Mayor Bill Foster in that year's mayoral election, citing Foster's lack of leadership, and criticizing him for his handling of the Tampa Bay Rays' desire to leave Tropicana Field and of the St. Petersburg Pier. Former City Councilwoman and two-time mayoral candidate Kathleen Ford, along with minor candidates Anthony Cates and Paul Congemi also joined Kriseman to challenge Foster. Kriseman and Ford attacked Foster for changing his position on a number of issues, while Kriseman was attacked by Ford for not passing any legislation while in the legislature, who questioned whether Kriseman would be partisan as mayor. The Tampa Bay Times, criticizing Foster's "lack of vision and unsure footing," strongly endorsed Kriseman, citing his "stabilizing influence" on the City Council and his focus on "environmental efforts and public education" in the legislature. The Times praised the "new energy" that Kriseman would bring to the mayor's office in negotiating with the Rays, redeveloping the Pier, and improving city services. The Tampa Tribune, meanwhile, though asserting that Foster's term consisted of "four bumpy years," and praising Kriseman for his "command of the issues, which he presents with enthusiasm and energy," endorsed Foster, observing that he presided over an "economic rebirth." In the primary, Foster narrowly edged out Kriseman to place first, though no candidate received a majority. Foster won 41% of the vote to Kriseman's 39% and Ford's 19%, and Foster and Kriseman advanced to the general election. Once again, the Times endorsed Kriseman and the Tribune endorsed Foster, while United States Senator Bill Nelson, former Governor Charlie Crist, and six out of eight City Councilmembers endorsed Kriseman. Despite the closeness of the campaign, Kriseman ultimately upset Foster by a fairly solid margin, winning 56% of the vote to Foster's 44%.
- LaPeter, Leonora (November 7, 2000). "Lawyer to try second run for St. Petersburg council". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Rogers, David K. (March 23, 1999). "Sunken Gardens raises interest". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Statement of Vote Pinellas County, Florida 1999 March 23 Municipal". Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Gilmer, Bryan (March 7, 2001). "'Shadow' candidates for council emerge". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Statement of Vote Pinellas County, Florida 2001 March 27 St. Petersburg General". Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Wilson, Jon (October 29, 2003). "Homol, Kriseman face off again". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "November 4 - St. Petersburg General Election". Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Rahimi, Shadi (August 23, 2006). "One stresses experience; the other, leadership". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Ulferts, Alisa (November 3, 2006). "Rivals both have Capitol experience". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Leary, Alex (February 7, 2008). "Strip club surcharge would aid elderly". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Lykins, Lorrie (February 17, 2008). "No changes for left turns". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Zucco, Tom (September 7, 2007). "Crist rejects appeals for PIP session". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Van Sickler, Michael (April 23, 2012). "Kriseman won't run for state House again, but not ruling out bid for St. Pete mayor". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Puente, Mark (February 10, 2013). "Rick Kriseman takes on Bill Foster for St. Petersburg mayor". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Puente, Mark (August 7, 2013). "Foster, Ford and Kriseman square off in St. Pete mayoral debate". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Times recommends: Kriseman for mayor". Tampa Bay Times. August 9, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Foster deserves another term as St. Petersburg mayor". Tampa Tribune. August 11, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Times recommends: Kriseman for mayor". Tampa Bay Times. October 18, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Foster for mayor of St. Petersburg". Tampa Tribune. October 13, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Bill Nelson endorses Rick Kriseman in St. Pete mayor's race". Tampa Tribune. August 22, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- O'Donnell, Christopher (October 7, 2013). "Crist, another council member endorse Kriseman for St. Pete mayor". Tampa Tribune. Retrieved May 14, 2015.