The 'Ricks' answer questions in first general election face off

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The League of Women voters hosted a St. Petersburg mayoral forum Tuesday at city hall. 

  • The 'Ricks' answer questions in first general election face off
  • Former Mayor Rick Baker and current Mayor Rick Kriseman speak to League of Women voters
  • Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections

This was the first time former Mayor Rick Baker and current Mayor Rick Kriseman have faced off since the August primary. 

Baker wasted no time attacking Kriseman for closing the Albert Whitted sewage plant. 

Kriseman told the League of Women Voters audience that he believes climate change is one of the biggest threat to St. Petersburg and he's the mayor to address it. 

"You see the areas of our city that are potentially underwater in the coming years," Kriseman said. "We have to really address this and we have to address it seriously. 

"And it's difficult to address and plan for climate change if you don't believe in the science of climate change."

Baker countered that if Kriseman truly believed in prepping for climate change, why would he close the plant?

"I just repeat it again, it makes no sense if you think sea level is rising, if you're having increased demand on your system, why would you close a sewer plant?" Baker said. 

Later during the forum, Baker was asked if he believed in climate science. 

"Yes," he said. 

Democrat Kriseman is seeking his second term while Republican Baker is looking to retake the office he held from 2001 to 2010. The two Ricks first traded barbs in July during a primary debate, discussing issues from the city's sewage issues to Midtown development to city staffing changes. 

Meanwhile, the candidates have raised more than $2 million making this the most expensive mayoral race in St. Petersburg history. 

Kriseman narrowly topped Baker by just a few dozen votes during the August primary. As the top two vote-getters, the two advanced to November 7's general election. 

Voters will begin receiving mail-in ballots next week.