Jan 5, 2022 - Politics

Kriseman gives last speech as St. Pete Mayor

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman gives his farewell speech at Doc Ford's with palm trees in the background,
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman gives his farewell speech at Doc Ford's. Photo: Selene San Felice/Axios

Eight years ago, Mayor Rick Kriseman stood on the steps of St. Petersburg city hall with promises to make the city better and stronger.

  • On Monday at Doc Ford's, he declared that he had done just that β€” and with sunglasses on and a drink in hand, he was ready to take some time off.

What he's saying: "The legacy that matters to me isn't the new pier, it's not the police station or sewer pipes. … It's that our people are better off today than they were eight years ago. That we created opportunity. That we brought poverty down to a record low."

  • "That we made St. Petersburg a more welcoming, inclusive and loving city."

Kriseman shared his three "goosebump moments" from the last eight years with Axios:

  1. "When we thought there was going to be 100 or 200 people and 25,000 showed up for the Women's March."
  2. The candlelight vigil on the steps of City Hall after the Pulse shooting in Orlando.
  3. The city's first Iftar dinner.

Advice to Mayor-elect Ken Welch: "If your goal is to make everyone happy, you're not going to get everything done. You have to trust your heart, get as much information as you can to make decisions, but make decisions."

  • "And don't promise things you can't deliver."

What's next: Kriseman leaves office Thursday to make way for Welch, though inauguration ceremonies were postponed due to the increase in coronavirus cases.

  • After Welch tested positive on Monday, he will now be sworn-in via livestream and start his tenure from home.
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