E. Eugene Webb PhD
Is Ken Welch the Right Guy To Be Saint Pete Mayor For The Next Four Or Maybe Even Eight Years?
It's a little early to start drawing final conclusions regarding the Saint Petersburg mayoral race with the primary on August 24th.
The initial polling on the race shows former county commissioner Ken Welch with a decent lead over the other major candidates in the race. Welsh is currently polling at about 20% leading the nearest candidates by 8 plus percentage points.
So, it's probably time to start asking the question is Ken Welch the best candidate for Saint Pete mayor?
Ken Welch spent 20 years on the Pinellas County Commission serving as Commission chair, representative to the Pinellas Suncoast Transit board and several other high-profile assignments while serving his multiple terms on the Pinellas County Commission.
In fact, one of the primary efforts of Ken Welch during that time was quietly avoiding the term limit rules weakly put in place by the county Commission. Commissioner Welch always seemed to have a platitude and or response when questioned about his multiple terms.
There's no question Ken Welch enjoys being a politician he's been one for over 20 years. In fact, one could make the point that he spends more time playing politics than he does dealing with the business of the political entity he is serving.
Ken has never been one who was afraid of letting you know who he is as it relates to his political positions and apparently he's not overly reluctant to throw his political clout around to support his own interests as shown in this Tampa Bay Times Editorial: Editorial: Ken Welch's obvious conflict of interest
There's a big difference between being a county commissioner and being a mayor of a city the size of Saint Petersburg. One of the legitimate questions that should be asked regarding ken's ability to serve in this capacity is whether he possesses the ability to transition from politician to chief executive officer and leader and manager of an organization of over 2000 people.
Of course, that same question can be asked of most of the candidates currently running for mayor. There isn't a well-seasoned businessperson among them.
If you listen to, watch or read Ken Welch’s comments from the first debate, you can see the influence of 20 years as a politician. Once you have had that experience surviving in the political arena it's extremely difficult to view problems and issues with anything other than a political lens.
For now, Saint Pete citizens should begin to watch closely each of the candidates who are currently vying for the mayor's job. The range is vast from little experience too much experience. As is the interest of those who are running.
The mayor's race, as are all the City Council races, are reasonably nonpartisan. But don't let that throw you. Partisan politics always manages to rear its ugly head in these races sooner or later.
Want some more information? Check out Wikipedia: 2021 St. Petersburg, Florida mayoral election.
For now, listen, watch, and learn, you need to be an informed voter on August 24th. The new mayor won't be elected that day, but the two people who will face off in the general election on November 2, 2021, will. You want to cast your vote so that you are sure you have a choice of two highly viable candidates.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.
Disclosures: Retired City of St. Petersburg