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Rick Kriseman

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Rick Kriseman
Official mayoral portrait, 2018
Mayor of St. Petersburg
In office
January 2, 2014 – January 6, 2022
Preceded byBill Foster
Succeeded byKen Welch
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 53rd district
In office
September 5, 2006 – November 7, 2012
Preceded byCharlie Justice
Succeeded byJohn Tobia
Member of the St. Petersburg City Council
from the 1st district
In office
Preceded byRobert Kersteen
Succeeded byHerbert Polson
Personal details
Richard David Kriseman

(1962-08-02) August 2, 1962 (age 61)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseKerry Kriseman
EducationUniversity of Florida (BA)
Stetson University (JD)
WebsiteOfficial website
Government website

Richard David Kriseman[1][2] (born August 2, 1962) is an American politician who served as the 53rd Mayor of St. Petersburg from 2014 to 2022. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 53rd district from 2006 to 2012.

Early life, education, and legal career[edit]

Kriseman was born in Detroit, Michigan, and moved with his family to Florida in 1972. He attended Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport. He graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in broadcasting in 1984. He then 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.[3]

As a lawyer, he practiced law with Englander & Fischer, P.A. and Stolba, Englander & Shames, P.A.[4] From 2007 to 2011 he was an attorney with Saunders & Walker P.A.[5] From 2011 to 2013, he was an attorney with Lucas, Green & Magazine.[5]

Political career[edit]

He served on the St. Petersburg Nuisance Abatement Board in 1996.[6]

St. Petersburg City Council[edit]

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[7] and Kriseman lost to Kersteen by a wide margin, receiving 41% of the vote to Kersteen's 59%.[8] When Kersteen resigned from the City Council to unsuccessfully run for the State House in 2000, Kriseman was appointed to replace him. Several months later he ran for re-election in 2001, just 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 Homol campaigned on his support for building desalination plants.[9] Kriseman won re-election over Homol in a landslide, winning 76% of the vote to Homol's 24%.[10]

He ran for re-election in 2003, facing challenger Homol once again, who attacked Kriseman and the City Council for being too friendly and not debating enough. Kriseman disputed Homol'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."[11] Once again, Kriseman won re-election overwhelmingly over Homol, and received 76% of the vote again.[12]

Florida House of Representatives[edit]

Official legislative portrait, 2010

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.[13] 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.[14] 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[15] and legislation that would have required drivers "to stop at certain intersections when a pedestrian is either in, or steps into, a crosswalk."[16] 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.[17]

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."[18]

Mayor of St. Petersburg[edit]

After retiring from the legislature, Kriseman announced that he would challenge incumbent Mayor Bill Foster in the 2013 St. Petersburg mayoral election. Kriseman cited Foster's lack of leadership, the handling of the Tampa Bay Rays' desire to leave Tropicana Field, and issues with the St. Petersburg Pier as reasons for his mayoral run.[19] 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. Ford also questioned whether Kriseman would be partisan as mayor.[20] 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.[21] 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."[22]

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[23] endorsed Kriseman, and the Tribune[24] endorsed Foster, while United States Senator Bill Nelson,[25] former Governor Charlie Crist, and six out of eight City Councilmembers endorsed Kriseman.[26] Despite the closeness of the campaign, Kriseman ultimately upset Foster by a fairly solid margin, winning 56% of the vote to Foster's 44%.

In December 2015, Kriseman received media attention after he tweeted about "barring" Donald Trump from entering St. Petersburg,[27][28] which he did in response to Trump's earlier controversial comment on banning all Muslims from entering the U.S. in the wake of deadly terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.[29][30]

Kriseman announced that he would run for re-election in the 2017 St. Petersburg mayoral election. In August 2017, Barack Obama endorsed Kriseman for re-election as mayor of St. Petersburg.[31] On November 7, 2017, Kriseman was re-elected for a second term, winning the general election with 51.62% of the vote. He defeated former Republican Mayor Rick Baker, who had 48.38% of the vote in a nonpartisan election.[32][33]

Personal life[edit]

He and his wife Kerry have two children. Kriseman is Jewish.[34]


  1. ^ "Member Profile – Richard David Kriseman – The Florida Bar". Retrieved 2021-09-09.
  2. ^ "Mr. Richard David Kriseman Profile | New Port Richey, FL Lawyer | Martindale.com". www.martindale.com. Retrieved 2021-09-09.
  3. ^ LaPeter, Leonora (November 7, 2000). "Lawyer to try second run for St. Petersburg council". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  4. ^ Rick Kriseman - City Council bio
  5. ^ a b LinkedIn Profile
  6. ^ Rick Kriseman's Biography - Vote Smart
  7. ^ Rogers, David K. (March 23, 1999). "Sunken Gardens raises interest". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  8. ^ "Statement of Vote Pinellas County, Florida 1999 March 23 Municipal". Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  9. ^ Gilmer, Bryan (March 7, 2001). "'Shadow' candidates for council emerge". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  10. ^ "Statement of Vote Pinellas County, Florida 2001 March 27 St. Petersburg General". Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  11. ^ Wilson, Jon (October 29, 2003). "Homol, Kriseman face off again". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  12. ^ "November 4 - St. Petersburg General Election". Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  13. ^ Rahimi, Shadi (August 23, 2006). "One stresses experience; the other, leadership". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  14. ^ Ulferts, Alisa (November 3, 2006). "Rivals both have Capitol experience". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  15. ^ Leary, Alex (February 7, 2008). "Strip club surcharge would aid elderly". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  16. ^ Lykins, Lorrie (February 17, 2008). "No changes for left turns". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  17. ^ Zucco, Tom (September 7, 2007). "Crist rejects appeals for PIP session". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Puente, Mark (February 10, 2013). "Rick Kriseman takes on Bill Foster for St. Petersburg mayor". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  20. ^ Puente, Mark (August 7, 2013). "Foster, Ford and Kriseman square off in St. Pete mayoral debate". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  21. ^ "Times recommends: Kriseman for mayor". Tampa Bay Times. August 9, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  22. ^ "Foster deserves another term as St. Petersburg mayor". Tampa Tribune. August 11, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  23. ^ "Times recommends: Kriseman for mayor". Tampa Bay Times. October 18, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  24. ^ "Foster for mayor of St. Petersburg". Tampa Tribune. October 13, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  25. ^ "Bill Nelson endorses Rick Kriseman in St. Pete mayor's race". Tampa Tribune. August 22, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  26. ^ O'Donnell, Christopher (October 7, 2013). "Crist, another council member endorse Kriseman for St. Pete mayor". Tampa Tribune. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  27. ^ Staff (December 8, 2015). "Kriseman bans Trump from St. Pete". 10News. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  28. ^ Staff (December 8, 2015). "St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman tweets a ban on Donald Trump from the city". WFTS. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  29. ^ McNeill, Claire (December 7, 2015). "With a tweet, Mayor Rick Kriseman 'bars' Donald Trump from St. Petersburg". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  30. ^ Siddiqui, Sabrina; Jacobs, Ben (December 7, 2015). "Trump faces backlash from both parties after call to bar Muslims entering US". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  31. ^ "Former President Barack Obama has endorsed Rick Kriseman in a tight mayoral race in St. Petersburg, Florida". Newsweek. 25 August 2017.
  32. ^ Frago, Charlie (January 5, 2017). "St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman files for re-election". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on May 14, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  33. ^ Irwin, Janelle (January 5, 2017). "Rick Kriseman files for re-election as St. Pete mayor". Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  34. ^ "Israel Missions | Jewish Press of Pinellas County".

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of St. Petersburg
Succeeded by