Council District: St. Pete City Council, District 1
Top 3 Priorities, If Elected:
My top three priorities are growing smart while maintaining our character, bringing St. Pete together and making critical investments in our city, especially in infrastructure and affordable housing. I chose to raise my family here. I want to make sure every family can do the same while enjoying the things that make St. Pete so special. Additionally, my career has been about preparing people for a secure future – I want to do the same thing for our city by ensuring we address our stormwater issues and expand transportation options.
Hometown: St Petersburg, Florida
Years in St. Pete: Lifelong resident
Current or Most Recent Non-Elected Occupation & Employer:
Growth and Development Director for Northwestern Mutual of Tampa Bay
5 Past or Present Community Service Roles or Projects:
In my free time, I volunteer with organizations around the city including the Police Athletic League and my church.I am also the Chair of the Community Planning and Preservation Committee. My wife and I also run a charity 501(c)3 called Love McKinley which supports families fighting pediatric cancer and the research to find a cure. I am also a member of the Community Action Committee (past president) which is the charitable arm of Northwestern Mutual Tampa Bay.
Up to 5 Endorsements of Your Candidacy:
I’m honored to be endorsed by Stonewall Democrats, the Tampa Bay Times, the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, Equality Florida Action PAC, and the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 747.
Up to 5 Organizations You Financially Support or Are a Member or Officer of:
I’m proud to run the Love McKinley foundation which supports families fighting pediatric cancer and am a board member of the Police Athletic League. I’m also the chair of the Community Planning and Preservation Commission. I also support my church, Northwest Baseball and St. Pete Catholic High School.
I was born and raised in Saint Petersburg, FL. My wife, Cecily Valenty Gerdes, and I were married in 2016 and have two children, Calley (3) and Cade (2). My family and I enjoy afternoons biking in St Petersburg and spending time enjoying St. Pete’s beautiful parks and trails together.
3 Specific Actions, Policies or Programs I Can Influence, if Elected, That Will Make Life Meaningfully Better for African Americans in St. Pete:
Three initiatives I’d like to work on are affordable housing, bringing St. Pete together, and making sure we preserve St. Pete’s character while we grow. There are multiple barriers when addressing housing options including the missed opportunities to develop it when there is the opportunity. We need quality, multi-family developments that are affordable and the city can do more to incentivize these kinds of developments by encouraging more mixed-use space that includes affordable units. To bring St. Pete together, I’d like to champion policy to expand public transportation options to connect all of our neighborhoods with fast, reliable transit options. I would also support additional support from the city for our neighborhood associations, community organizations, and non-profits so that we maintain the unique character of our city.