A contested mayoral election offers an opportunity for citizens and interest groups to pose questions and emphasize concerns — and actually get a politician to listen.
Such is the case this summer in St. Petersburg, and AARP wants to know what Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker will do to make the city even more livable over the course of the next four years, so they’ve created an online voting guide to inform citizens about the candidates record on issues such as affordable housing, civic participation, and employment opportunities.
“AARP Tampa Bay is part of this growing global movement to prepare for an era of longer life spans,” said Laura Cantwell, Associate State Director for Advocacy for AARP Florida. “With the nation’s 65+ population set to double by 2050, hundreds of communities are making a commitment to make their city a great place for all ages.”
The organization’s online voter guide provides an opportunity for local residents to ask questions they want the next mayor to answer. The candidates and their campaigns have been invited to respond to the citizens with their own videos.
“With this upcoming mayoral election, we see this as the right platform for our residents, and the candidates, to get their voices heard,” said Jeff P. Johnson, AARP Florida state director. “Whoever takes office and where they stand on these important issues is critical to the continued forward momentum of making our community even more livable.”
Historically, St. Petersburg has always been a classic retirement and tourist destination because of its winter warmth, great beaches, and ideal location on a peninsula in the Tampa Bay area. Though it’s become a hip place for younger people to live in recent years, it still has a substantial senior population that is definitely focusing on the election.
There are six people running for mayor this summer in St. Pete, yet the AARP is only featuring Kriseman and Baker. The group responds that “due to AARP National’s regulations,” for a candidate to be included in the AARP Florida nonpartisan Voter Guide, the individual must have registered at least 10 percent in voter support in independent, public polling by July 17, 2017.