Kathleen Beckman: Clearwater Mayor Candidate

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Clearwater Mayor Candidate

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Kathleen Beckman: Clearwater Mayor Candidate

By Kathleen Beckman 

I was born and raised in Michigan.  My parents both lost their mothers when they were quite young.  One to cancer, the other to a tragic automobile accident.  They both grew up in families that struggled with a number of challenges.But they married during the last year of my dad’s service in the Navy and after two years I was born.

I have two younger brothers. Clearwater Mayor Candidate

I was raised primarily in Lansing, Michigan where my dad worked in State government.  My mom was a stay-at-home mom who was very involved in our community and provided childcare for primarily teachers in our neighborhood.  When I was in 6th grade, my dad started law school, taking night classes after working all day.  It took him three years, and I remember not seeing much of him during that time.  But the lessons taught about the value of education, about sacrifice and pulling together, and about living the ideal of “it takes a village” to really make a difference in your community were ingrained in me.  We all pitched in – nearly every day.  I grew up in a mixed aged neighborhood.  Our elementary school was right across from my backyard.  We had several elderly residents in our neighborhood who we helped shovel snow, or rake lawns, tend to an ailing spouse, or help far-away adult children keep tabs on ailing parents.  That same sense of community and looking out for each other carried over to the neighborhood my husband, Bryan, and I raised our children in.

After graduating from high school in 1982, I entered Western Michigan University where I earned a BS in Psychology with a minor in Marketing.  My husband, Bryan, and I married in 1986 after we both graduated from college.  We moved to Lafayette IN when Bryan accepted a position with General Foods.  I enrolled in Purdue University to pursue a degree in English Education.  Just before student teaching, we moved to Dracut MA when Bryan accepted a promotion.  I continued my education at Franklin Pierce College in Nashua NH and earned my English Education certification.

After two years in MA and the birth of our first child, Joshua, we moved to Lindenhurst IL when Bryan was again promoted.  I was pregnant with our second child, Sarah.  We spent over 20 years in northern Illinois.  A year and a half after Sarah was born, our third and last child, Michael was born.  So, we had three children under 4 and Bryan was working a pretty demanding and travel intensive job.  I was incredibly fortunate to be able to stay home with our children until our youngest was in 1st grade.  I started teaching as a substitute in our local school district and when offered a permanent position, I happily accepted.  I taught high school English and Journalism and a variety of electives for 14 years.  I also earned a MA in Educational Leadership while I was teaching.  Bryan and I were volunteer coaches for soccer and floor hockey teams and attended hundreds of sporting and band events in support of our children.  It was such a joyful part of our life.  We really miss it and hope to relive some of those experiences with future grandchildren.

After our children graduated college and accepted jobs in three different states – we decided to move to Florida.  We had purchased a townhome on Sand Key in 2013 and rented it to one long-term tenant.  Our tenant did not want to renew his lease and we decided it was a great time to get out of the cold and head down to our first “chosen” home that wasn’t tied to a specific job.

We love Clearwater!  Once Bryan and I settled into our home, we each began to volunteer with local non-profits and learn more about our community.  I became a Guardian ad Litem with the Pinellas County Courts, representing children who are removed from their home due to abuse or neglect.  I also became a weekly volunteer with Pinellas County Schools, something I still enjoy.  I became involved with the Ridgecrest YMCA and helped to start a small summer swim team.  Helping with Habitat for Humanity builds, participating in Sierra Club events, NAACP events, LULAC events, Clearwater Neighborhoods Coalition meetings, and voter engagement activities helped fill out my schedule.  As I immersed myself in our community, I gained a real appreciation for the diversity of residents in Clearwater and their individual concerns.

In 2019 I decided to run for Clearwater Council, and on March 17, 2020, I was elected with 49% of the vote in a four-candidate race. I ran a grassroots campaign, advocating for transparency, neighborhoods, and businesses, reducing costs, protecting our environment, and working on housing solutions.  I can confidently say that over the last four years, the Council has made significant gains in each of these areas. I’m proud of being a part of that, of leading several initiatives, and of my voting record.

During the course of the last four years there have been many accomplishments:

  • We have a new City Manager and City Attorney who I have tremendous confidence in them to budget, execute and communicate. It is the Council’s job to oversee this.
  • The council approved comprehensive pay raises for city staff to reward their efforts and remain competitive in our region as well as to deliver services and efficient operations to you, our residents.
  • The Council unanimously approved a new city hall design, costing $31.5 million. We have saved for this expense over the last 7+years.  It is within budget, and we should break ground later this year.
  • We have reduced our energy bill by over ½ million per year and are on track to save even more money.
  • The Council unanimously voted to lower your millage rate by $1 million.
  • I voted NO to a 63% pay raise for Councilmembers.
  • We now have measurable goals attached to Greenprint 2.0 our Sustainability Plan.
  • We have increased staffing in our Sustainability department.
  • We passed a smoking ban on city beaches and in city parks.
  • We have the first ever city/department dashboards. Dashboards will be phased in for each department, ensuring transparency and accountability for our residents.
  • I worked to help create the Clearwater Alliance for Housing, a grassroots organization that aims to educate residents and advocate for more creative housing solutions.
  • I championed and approved the new North Greenwood Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) which will work to revitalize the North Greenwood community, reducing poverty and spurring economic opportunities.
  • This council approved the redesign of Coachman Park and celebrated its grand opening.
  • This council approved additional staffing for our Neighborhoods division – going from one to three.
  • This council approved the Gotham/Denunzio development on our Bluff property downtown.
  • I was proud to support $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for citywide sidewalk repair.
  • This council supported ARPA funding for a small business incubator in Clearwater.
  • This council adopted a new Strategic Plan that is used every day to set priorities, guide budget decisions and hold departments accountable for accomplishing gs.
  • The new Strategic Plan includes a focus on environment and sustainability for the first time, ever!
  • When I ran for Council in 2019, I was committed to continued engagement with residents. I can confidently say that I am in Clearwater neighborhoods every week.  I compose and distribute a digital newsletter to residents throughout the city.  I highlight people and businesses you should know, I celebrate the positives in our city, I let residents know about community meetings, festivals, ordinance changes, Parks and Recreation events, elections, non-profits, and always invite residents to join in important conversations.

I have thoroughly enjoyed serving the residents of Clearwater as their Councilmember  for the last four years.  I have been, and will continue to be, committed to making Clearwater all it can be.  Residents deserve clean, safe, and thriving neighborhoods.  They deserve services delivered in the most cost-efficient way.  They deserve councilmembers that are always looking to save residents money.  And they deserve councilmembers who are in their neighborhoods, engaging in conversations and who have a sound understanding of their needs and concerns. Clearwater has that proven representative in me. 

Clearwater deserves a mayor with elected experience.  They deserve a mayor who has delivered on her promises, who clearly understands how our city operates and has developed relationships within City leadership to accomplish goals.  Residents deserve a mayor who devotes her full attention to the work of the Council.  Clearwater deserves a mayor who has demonstrated leadership on the Council and in our region.  I serve as Vice-President of the Suncoast League of Cities, advocating for home rule in Tallahassee and working to support legislation that enhances our city; I serve on the Tampa Bay Estuary Program Board, working to protect and improve our Tampa Bay Watershed, that so much of our economy and quality of life is dependent on.  I also serve as the Chair of the Pinellas County Continuum of Care, a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designated entity that works to prevent and reduce homelessness in our county.  I also represent Clearwater on the “Big C” the Barrier Islands Government Council, working to protect our beaches and beach communities.

I make public safety, good governance, and neighborhood quality of life part of every decision I make.  I am proud to have bipartisan support from leaders throughout Clearwater and the region. These are leaders who know me and have worked with me over the last four years, side-by-side, shoulder to shoulder.  I am proud and honored to know that they have confidence in my ability to serve as Mayor of Clearwater and represent all residents of our great city.

Rick Kriseman – former St. Petersburg Mayor

Mary Beth Henderson – Redington Shores Mayor

Cookie Kennedy – Indian Rocks Beach Mayor

Joe Ayoub – Safety Harbor Mayor

Charlie Justice – Pinellas County Commissioner

Jennifer Webb – former FL Representative

Pat Gerard – former Pinellas County Commissioner

Ben Diamond – former FL State Representative

Nicole Carr – former Pinellas School Board

Lyndsay Cross – FL Representative

Rene Flowers – Pinellas County Commissioner

Caprice Edmonds – Pinellas County School Board

Gina Driscoll – St. Petersburg City Council

April Thanos – Gulfport City Council

Jamie Robinson – Largo City Commissioner

Jeff Gow – Dunedin City Commissioner

Eric Gerard – Largo City Commissioner

Trish Springer – Seminole City Council

Deborah Figg Sanders – St. Petersburg City Council

Karl Nurse – former St. Petersburg City Council

Jared Buchman – Oldsmar City Council

Joe Barkley – Belleair Bluffs City Commissioner

Michael Smith – Largo City Commissioner

Patrick Serrano – Indian Shores Mayor

Brian Pelfrey, Clearwater Realtor and Sand Key Neighborhood Leader

Karen Cunningham, former President of Clearwater Neighborhoods Coalition

Marilyn Turman, Clearwater Neighborhood Leader and business owner

Gloria Campbell, Clearwater Neighborhood Leader

Rev. Lee Hall-Perkins of Mt Zion United Methodist Church

Nita Cole, 2023 Miss Countryside

Rev. Bob Swick of St. Francis of Assisi in Dunedin

Elder Benjamin Adams, Jr., Senior Pastor of St. John Primitive Baptist Church

Dr. Jens Cavallius-Nieder, Business/Neighborhood leader

Muhammad Abdur-Rahim, Clearwater Community Leader

Kathleen Agnew, Clearwater Community Leader and 2022 Mrs. Countryside

Beth Davis, Clearwater Community Leader – Leader Clearwater Alliance for Housing

Eliseo Santana,Clearwater Community Leader

Juan Baxcajay, Clearwater Community Leader and business owner

Christine Clifford, Clearwater business owner

Manos Kranias, Clearwater business owner

Kellis Glenn, Clearwater Community Leader

Proudly Endorsed by:

  • Suncoast Sierra Club
  • Ruth’s List


Kathleen Beckman


Donate: https://secure.numero.ai/contribute/Kathleen-Beckman-For-Mayor

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/BeckmanForMayor

Related articles:

Bruce Rector: Clearwater Mayor Candidate

Javante Scott: City Council Candidate

Mike Mannino: City Council Candidate

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