Gina Driscoll has only been serving in her role on the St. Pete City Council since January 2018, but she's already making her mark on St. Pete. Backed by predecessor Karl Nurse, Driscoll handedly won her seat as a first-time candidate venturing into the world of politics. She now serves as one of five women on the female-dominated City Council. Prior to her candidacy, Driscoll was president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association. Her dedication to neighborhood issues and meeting one-on-one with her constituency has proven her a tactful leader. Driscoll is adept at navigating tricky partisan issues with fair-minded attention to their effects on the residents of the varied communities she represents - including downtown, Old Northeast and Midtown.
Years in St. Pete
Organizations involved in
City of St. Petersburg, that pretty much takes up all of my time. But I do spend a lot of time with our different neighborhood associations. In my district, there are 20.
What gets you out of bed every day?
My dogs! I have two dogs and they will wake me up every morning when it’s time for breakfast. They are a great inspiration for me first thing in the morning.
Why St. Pete?
How could you not choose St. Pete? It has everything for me. I have really found this to be my true home. With the downtown we have, and the beautiful waterfront city. The progressive leadership that has brought us this far. Beyond downtown, you look around at all of our different neighborhoods, there is truly something here for everyone, no matter what your age is, how much money you make, who you love, what side of the aisle you sit on.
What is one habit that you keep?
I go to yoga twice a week, at the beginning of my work week and at the end. It really helps to keep me centered, gives me a good stretch after being crunched up in council meetings all day on Thursdays. It’s just a great way for me to hit that reset button and do something good for my body and mind.
Who are some people that influence you?
Karl Nurse, who had this city council seat before me. He has been a great mentor to me for several years now. He continues to be a great source of guidance for me as I am learning more about some of the issues I wasn’t as familiar with before I started my role on city council.
My family, because they truly keep me grounded. They remind me where I came from and that there is so much more to life than the work and the next agenda I have to read.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
I just finished reading for the second time – “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandburg. She wrote this book about women in leadership, and how that role has changed over the years. Wonderful insight from someone who has worked her way up in the corporate world. For women in particular, I think it’s a really powerful and important book to read.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
I wish I knew how slowly government works. I knew things moved slowly, but I didn’t realize just how slowly. And sometimes we really do get in our own way in getting things done. Coming from the private sector and being in management roles, if you develop an idea and you want to get it done you put a plan together and you delegate and it starts happening. Within City Hall, there are many more layers to get through before you get to implementation.
There’s so much out there for us to tackle. In the year ahead, we’ll be starting more conversations about what we should do with the Tropicana Field redevelopment. That is something that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us – to redevelop about 85 acres of prime real estate that the city owns.