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Catalyze 2022: Councilmember-elect Richie Floyd

Mark Parker

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We’re asking thought leaders, business people and creatives to talk about 2022 and give us catalyzing ideas for making St. Pete a better place to live. What should our city look like? What are their hopes, their plans, their problem-solving ideas? This is Catalyze 2022.

Richie Floyd, a former science teacher at Azalea Middle School, brought his year to a close with a victory over Jeff Danner by a razor-thin margin in the District 8 race for St. Petersburg City Council.

Floyd, who fills outgoing Councilmember Amy Foster’s vacated seat on Jan. 6, ran a distinctly grassroots campaign on a progressive platform and collected 51% of the vote. Following his Nov. 3 victory, Floyd wrote a tweet dedicating his win to the working people of St. Pete. As the city moves into a new year, and with a new mayor and three new council members, Floyd intends on providing the residents of St. Pete with more of a voice on the issues that matter the most.

Floyd said his big idea for 2022 is something he knows he can achieve, as he is “totally in control of it.” Instead of focusing on a policy issue, he wants to establish his approach to leading on City Council.

“Something I hope to achieve over the next year is holding a series of town halls across the district, and possibly across the city, on a variety of issues that come before council,” said Floyd.

Floyd said gathering feedback on affordable housing is a key focus, followed by environmental protection and Tropicana Field redevelopment. Floyd, who also has a background in community activism, said he relishes the opportunity to hear firsthand from his constituents.

“Invite participation from the community, canvass neighborhoods around where the events are going to happen, and really solicit public input in a way that I think will be unique in the city,” said Floyd.

Floyd explained that as one council member out of eight, he can propose solutions but needs the backing of four of his colleagues to get an idea across the finish line. He believes strong community involvement through 2022 will help him to realize what issues matter the most and also bring city council to a consensus.

“I think it will grease the wheels for anything that I hope to accomplish,” said Floyd. “And guide me in the right direction as to how exactly the community wants me to accomplish the things that I’ve prioritized.”

Floyd feels it is paramount that he stays true to his campaign and engages the community with the same fervor as when he sought office. He may not be able to go door to door every weekend like he did over 2021, “I’ve got a job to do,” he reminded, “but I’ll be out there as much as I can.”

Floyd said hosting these community meetings when an issue is topical benefits everyone on the council. He explained that when issues come before city council, there are typically several people lobbying around different ideas. He hopes that showing what is of particular importance to residents will make the council’s job easier and encourage them to “do the right thing and do what the community wants to happen.”

Floyd said the one thing he looks forward to the most in 2022 is the fresh faces entering city leadership. He thinks that everyone who was elected possessed similar themes throughout their campaigns, even if they had differing ideas for how to achieve their goals. Floyd used housing, the environment and Tropicana Field redevelopment as examples.

“Some people may be more progressive than others, but when we’re all sort of aligned in the same direction – that’s a great thing to see for the city,” said Floyd. “I think we’re really going to function well as a government.”

Additionally, Floyd hopes the city council functions as one body that governs amicably throughout 2022 and can reflect on how they did things the right way at this time next year. He added he is optimistic that will be the case.

“I’d love to be able to look back and say we worked together as a team,” said Floyd. “Those are the themes that I’m going to go into this next year with, I would say.”

 

 

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