Council District: St. Pete City Council, District 4
Top 3 Priorities, If Elected:
I’m running for St. Petersburg City Council because I love my community and I want to contribute to making it a better place to live, work, and raise a family. As President of a neighborhood association, I’ve seen what we can accomplish for our community when we get involved – I want to continue that work on a larger scale so we can do even more for our city. My top three priorities as a council member are to increase our stock of affordable housing, to maintain our city’s unique character as we grow, and to continue investing in our infrastructure to prepare for climate change and continued growth.
Hometown: Tampa, Florida
Years in St. Pete: 15 years (2006)
Current or Most Recent Non-Elected Occupation & Employer:
5 Past or Present Community Service Roles or Projects:
As the Crescent Lake Neighborhood Association President, I lead the revival of our neighborhood association, obtained Local Landmark Designation & National Register of Historic Places listing for Huggins-Stengel Field, enlisted mentors for Woodlawn Elementary School, and helped start a Learning Garden at the school. I began rebuilding our neighborhood organization in late 2016 and was awarded President of the Year in 2018 and Crescent Lake won Neighborhood of the Year under my leadership in 2020 at the Mayor’s Neighborhood Partnership Awards. I’m the co-founder of Friends of Woodlawn Elementary and I serve as a Pinellas County Schools LunchPals mentor. Additionally, as the former Membership Chair for the Council of Neighborhood Associations, I was responsible for establishing its Diversity & Inclusion Committee. I am on the board of The Shirley Proctor Puller Foundation, which helps close the educational gap for children in St. Petersburg.
Up to 5 Endorsements of Your Candidacy:
I’m proud to be endorsed by the Florida National Organization for Women, Ruth’s List Florida, the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, The International Association of Firefighters Local 747, and the Pinellas Realtors Organization.
Up to 5 Organizations You Financially Support or Are a Member or Officer of:
I currently serve as President of the Crescent Lake Neighborhood Association. I am a board member of the Shirley Proctor Puller Foundation. I serve and provide financial support to these organizations. I’ll bring my experiences working with them to City Council. No child should be left behind in our city’s progress and, if elected, I’ll make sure we appropriately fund programs to fill the gaps for children who are most in need.
My husband, Wayne, and I are raising our daughter Ana Sofia (6). I also have a stepdaughter, Isabel (22), who recently graduated from college. My family arrived in the United States from Cuba in the late 1960’s.
3 Specific Actions, Policies or Programs I Can Influence, if Elected, That Will Make Life Meaningfully Better for African Americans in St. Pete:
It is important we listen to the needs of each community and ensure we address those needs. I would propose policies that provide better access and support for affordable housing, increase public safety, and improve educational outcomes. As to affordable housing, I think my background as an attorney will help in navigating the changes to our Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations which will be happening as part of our Vision 2050 process and finding innovative solutions to address those needs. I believe being a neighborhood advocate and former prosecutor will be helpful on city council when dealing with issues of policing. Having been involved in Friends of Woodlawn Elementary and The Shirley Proctor Puller Foundation, I am well aware of the importance in improving educational outcomes for children and bridging the educational gap. I dropped out of high school to work full-time at the age of 16 to help my mom. I obtained my high school, BA, and MBA while working full time. Given my life experiences, I understand how important it is to have equitable economic and educational opportunities in all our neighborhoods and communities.