St. Petersburg City Councilmember Darden Rice filed to run for Mayor of St. Petersburg. Mayor Rick Kriseman is precluded from running again due to term limits.
“I’m running for mayor because we need bold, new ideas to address our most pressing needs, and a strong leader with my experience who will make it happen,” said Councilmember Rice. “I’ve fought tirelessly for working people my entire life, and as a member of City Council for the past seven years, I’ve been a leader in solving local issues and driving progress in our community. We’re facing difficult times right now as a city, a state, and a nation, but I have no doubt that we can come together to address our challenges and make St. Petersburg an even stronger city.”
Councilmember Rice was the first openly gay person to run for office in Pinellas County. First elected to City Council to represent District 4 in 2013, she was re-elected in 2017 with over 72% of the vote. She is the current Chair of Forward Pinellas, the county’s land use and transportation planning agency, and an executive member of the Board of Directors for Tampa Bay Water, the regional water supply utility.
Rice previously served as the president of the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area and as chair of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), as well as the Chair of City Council. Before being elected to City Council, Darden was the Florida Director of Healthy Gulf, an anti-pollution nonprofit focused on protecting our coastal waters, a Senior Associate with Sierra Club Florida, and the Health Care Policy Director for Progress Florida, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting progressive values throughout the state.
Councilmember Rice created the Wage Theft Prevention ordinance, was the driving force behind universal curbside recycling, and founded the council committee on the environment which spearheaded the city’s most ambitious and comprehensive approach to measurable environmental progress. She has been a champion for increasing affordable housing, creating stronger neighborhoods, improving transportation, historic preservation, and supporting our local small businesses.
Rice is beginning her campaign by revealing an ambitious goal of creating universal pre-kindergarten and free two-year community college and technical programs during her first term as Mayor.
“Our children are our future, and I want our city to be the Education City. We know we can’t always count on state efforts to prioritize and ensure student success,” said Rice. “Our city needs to take a more active role in making sure our children start off with the tools they need to graduate high school and pursue additional education or job training if they desire.”
“This campaign is all about the people of St. Petersburg,” said Councilmember Rice. “We’re going to have a strong, grassroots field effort that emphasizes one-on-one conversations and listening to residents from all walks of life, in every neighborhood, about the issues they care about most.”
The campaign also released an announcement video that can be viewed at www.DardenRice.com.