Ken Welch praises Copley Gerdes’ ‘profound commitment,’ endorses him for re-election

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'It is clear that Copley possesses the experience, integrity, and vision required to continue leading our city toward a brighter future.'

St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch is endorsing St. Petersburg City Councilman Copley Gerdes as Gerdes seeks re-election in District 1.

“As Mayor of St. Petersburg, I am dedicated to fostering leadership that reflects the values and aspirations of our vibrant community,” Welch said in a prepared statement announcing the endorsement.

“Councilman Gerdes has consistently demonstrated a profound commitment to the citizens of St. Petersburg. His diligent work on the City Council has been instrumental in advancing our shared goals of economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social equity. His vision for a more inclusive and prosperous St. Petersburg aligns perfectly with our administration’s priorities.”

Gerdes joined the Council in 2021, winning a Special Election to replace Robert Blackmon when Blackmon stepped down to run for Mayor. The Council chose Gerdes as Vice Chair in December.

Gerdes is so far unopposed for the District 1 seat, and Welch is looking forward to Gerdes returning to the Council.

“Councilman Gerdes’ collaborative spirit and ability to bring diverse groups together to find common ground are exactly what we need in our city leadership. His focus on transparency and accountability has strengthened the trust between the City Council and the public,” Welch added.

“It is clear that Copley possesses the experience, integrity, and vision required to continue leading our city toward a brighter future. I am confident that under his continued leadership, St. Petersburg will thrive and reach new heights. I urge you to join me in supporting Councilman Copley Gerdes in his re-election. Together, we can continue to build a city that is equitable, innovative, and resilient.”

In private life, Gerdes has worked as a financial adviser with Northwestern Mutual since 2011. He also has experience as the Director of Special Projects at his father’s law firm, Keane, Reese, Vesely, and Gerdes P.A.; as a business analyst at FrankCrum in Clearwater; and as a recruiting coordinator for the Saint Leo University baseball team.

Now, Gerdes has the backing of his city’s Mayor as he seeks a full term.

“I am honored to accept the endorsement of Mayor Welch for my re-election campaign in District 1. The Mayor’s support is a testament to the collaborative efforts and significant progress we have made together for the betterment of St. Petersburg. His leadership and vision for a more inclusive and prosperous city have been inspirational,” Gerdes said in a prepared statement.

“His dedication to addressing critical issues such as affordable housing, public safety, and economic development aligns perfectly with my own commitments to our community. I am proud of what we have achieved, from advancing affordable housing initiatives to enhancing public safety and fostering economic growth. However, our work is far from finished.”


Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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