State Rep. Rick Kriseman: Farewell and Thank You

by Benjamin J. Kirby

To read my blog, the Spencerian, over the last few entries is an exercise in frustration, sadnessmelancholy and outright depression.

The trend continues today, I’m afraid: State Representative Rick Kriseman (D-53), a favorite of this blog as well as my own Representative, has announced he is not seeking re-election:

While I am pleased by our occasional victories, and hold out hope that the political climate and dysfunction in Tallahassee will eventually improve, neither provides me with a good enough reason to return for two more years.

Therefore, in November, a dozen years after entering public service, I will leave the Florida House and my legislative family to spend a little more time in my house with my family. My wife, kids, and our Labrador retrievers are looking forward to it.

Being at home will also allow me to focus on my law practice, and to give extra attention to some of the fun things in my life, like my Karate and guitar lessons.

But know this, until November, I intend to work hard to re-elect our president, and to be helpful to other great candidates who are running for local, state, or federal offices. I’ll also be using the downtime to think about my own future, and how I can best serve our community.

As you probably remember, Duncan worked for Keith Fitzgerald for his two terms at a State Representative in District 69, and I think both Duncan and Keith might express a similar sentiment about working in an overwhelmingly Republican legislature with a far-right-wing Governor.

I was lucky enough to be granted an interview with Representative Kriseman (part I here, and part II here).  If there are any take-aways from that interview, it’s that Kriseman loves his hometown of St. Petersburg, and that he believes very deeply in public service.

I don’t know what that means for Kriseman’s future — I take him at his word that he’s going to focus on his law practice and his fantastic family.  But I think it’s a safe bet to say we haven’t heard the last of Rick Kriseman in public life.

Maybe because I was married to a political staffer, but too often these events go without passing along the recognition and acknowledgement due the advisers and aides of these politicians we admire.  Duncan and I consider Kevin King and David Flintom friends, but beyond their friendship, they have served their boss, and more important, the people of this district well.  I don’t know where they’ll land or what they’ll be doing, but with talent like that, I bet it’ll be something really great.

Good luck, Representative Kriseman.  And thank you for your service.

Rick during session

c/p at the Spencerian

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About Benjamin Kirby

Benjamin J. Kirby has worked in Democratic politics, federal and local government, and issue advocacy for nearly twenty years. Currently he is the Communications Manager for a special taxing authority in Pinellas County, Florida which provides critical services to at-risk youth and underprivileged families. He has served in the non-profit sector, working for a healthcare education organization seeking to serve kidney patients and their families. He was also the Communications Director for the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN), an education and advocacy group dedicated to finding better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Before healthcare education and advocacy, he served in staff and volunteer capacities in political campaigns, most recently volunteering for the successful Keith Fitzgerald for State House (69th District, Florida) campaign in 2006, and his subsequent 2008 and 2010 campaigns. He advised Greg Galligan for State Senate (39th District, Virginia) in 2003 and conducted research for the successful Mark Sickles for Delegate (43rd District, Virginia) campaign, also in 2003. In 2002, he served as Field Director for Arkansas' first female gubernatorial nominee, Jimmie Lou Fisher, and as Campaign Manager for Jan Schneider’s first bid against Katherine Harris for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. His first campaign was with the Clinton/Gore Presidential Campaign of 1992 in his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas. During the Clinton Administration, Benjamin served as the first Public Affairs Officer of the United States Parole Commission within the U.S. Department of Justice, where he developed the Commission’s first website. In 1998, he developed a website for the First Lady’s White House Millennium Council. He worked for more than five years serving two Drug Czars as an Administrative Assistant and Scheduler in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He also held a variety of research and administrative positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of Presidential Personnel. Benjamin is seeking publication for his first novel, a love story set against the backdrop of the violent criminal underworld. In addition, he will soon be finishing several humorous essays reflecting on his service in the Clinton Administration. He is also the editor and publisher of The Spencerian, a political blog (http://warnerkirby.blogs.com). His fiction has been published in WordWrights! Magazine, and Apathy, a literary magazine. Born in western North Carolina and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, Benjamin now lives in Gulfport, Florida with his wife and daughter. While working for the Clinton Administration, Benjamin went to school in the evening, and received an undergraduate degree in Political Communication from George Mason University.
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