In October 2019, City Commissioner Curtis Richardson filed to run for reelection for City Commission Seat 2. Bill Schack, Trish Brown, Lynette Halter, and Geraldine Seay are also running for the position.
Richardson was elected to the City Commission in 2014. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and master’s degree in School Psychology from Florida State University. He went on to work as a school psychologist in the Gadsden County School System and, later in his career, served as the Director of School Improvement. He also worked in several positions within the Florida Department of Education, and he has been a member of many civic organizations in Tallahassee. Main features of Richardson’s campaign are sustainable growth, affordable housing, and preserving neighborhoods.
What motivated you to run for local office?
“I have been a resident of Tallahassee for 45 years, having moved here to attend FSU. After graduating with a degree in School Psychology, I began my professional career in a local school district and decided to make Tallahassee my home. I would eventually meet my wife here, and we built our home on the Southside of Tallahassee, where we raised our two daughters. I have devoted myself to serving this community in a number of different capacities in an effort to make it a better place for our residents, their families, and guests to the city. After serving terms on the Leon County School Board and Florida House of Representatives, I was elected to the City Commission in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. I am running for re-election to continue to provide the kind of leadership needed to move our city forward and address the challenges facing us as a community. As the ‘Dean’ of the Commission, I have worked with my newly elected colleagues and provided the institutional knowledge needed as we confronted the issues important to our residents. I am also running for re-election to ensure the successful launch and implementation of our Blueprint 2020 projects. As a member of the original Blueprint Committee and the subsequent Sales Tax Committee, I plan to continue to work toward the successful implementation of future infrastructure projects and economic development initiatives.”
What unique perspective would you bring to the position?
“I consider it an honor to serve ALL of the residents of the city of Tallahassee, but I have a unique perspective in that I live on the Southside of town. As a resident of the Southside, I have a vantage point that allows me to see the additional resources needed in this part of our city and other long neglected areas that need tremendous attention and improvement so the quality of life of those residents is enhanced. I also have the unique perspective of having been involved for many years in working with the City and CRA resulting in millions of dollars being committed towards the revitalization and re-development of these areas. In addition, I bring a long history of experience, knowledge and public service to the Commission as its longest serving member. In light of the recent health and economic challenges brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19), my knowledge and experience will be valuable as we navigate through these unchartered, troubled waters and keep our ‘All America’ City moving forward and on the road to recovery.”
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Tallahassee?
“First, there is no doubt that the challenges arising out of the coronavirus will be the biggest facing our community. We must ensure that we are all working together to address the tremendous health and economic issues brought about by this pandemic. For instance, ensuring that the healthcare industry and other frontline essential employees have the resources they need must be a priority, as well as the health and safety of all Tallahasseeans. Second, we will also be faced with the challenge of jump starting our economy, particularly local small businesses and industry and getting our citizens back to work. Third, the City will face challenges as it tries to provide the same level of quality services our residents have come to expect, but with a vastly reduced budget. Finally, keeping our neighborhoods safe will continue to be among my top priorities.”
What is your plan to address these challenges?
“The City and County Commissioners have worked jointly and individually to address these issues. We have assisted our local small businesses and nonprofits with cash infusions as well as offering utility rebates to all of our customers. We have ensured no utility disconnects and allowed payment deferrals. We have encouraged local residents to continue to support our local businesses. The City has worked with the healthcare industry with such matters as donating a COVID-19 testing site and contracting with a local vendor to produce masks that can be given to the public at no cost. The Commission and City Manager have committed to make every effort to maintain the current city work force. We will also continue to try to create new jobs for residents through business recruitment and growing our local businesses. We will also look for ways to reduce the financial burden on local residents if/where we can so they have money to invest in the local economy.”
Responsibilities of the City Commissioner position include setting City policies and setting tax rates. It has a four-year term length and annual salary of $39,588.00. The primary election date is August 18 and the general election date is November 3.
Ahead of the 2020 local election season, Tallahassee Reports has asked all local candidates to answer basic questions about their candidacy. The answers to the questions are in the candidates own words.The goal is to get as much information out to voters as possible. More focused questions will be addressed as the election draws nearer.