Two Face Off at Candidate Forum

Janet Impastato of St. Petersburg and Gulfport business owner served as the moderator.

On Thursday, February 6, a crowd of about 70 people attended the 2020 Meet the Candidates Forum held at the Catherine A. Hickman Theater in Gulfport from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The two people vying for the city’s Ward 1 council seat answered written questions submitted by the public to an on-site screening committee from about 7 to 8 p.m.

The forum was sponsored and facilitated by members of the Gulfport Merchants Chamber.

Gulfport City Councilmember Dan Liedtke is the incumbent and April Thanos is the challenger.

Vice Mayor Paul Ray is running unopposed as the incumbent for his Ward 3 seat and will win re-election by default.

Questions were required to be related to Gulfport. Topics covered included parking, infrastructure, street flooding, water quality at the beach and related waterways, environmental sustainability, zoning and building codes, ordinances, alley garbage pickup, short-term rentals, the boat race, derelict boats, the millage rate, the character of the town, restricting the height of business buildings, the need for upgrades to the Senior Center, the upkeep of Clymer Park, and the sewer lateral reimbursement program for home owners. 

Each candidate was allowed a one-minute opening and closing statement. Answers to questions were limited to one minute with a 30-second rebuttal, if needed.

To listen to an mp3 audio file of the entire question-and-answer period provided by the Gabber, click here: The audio file is about one hour.

The non-partisan municipal election will be held on Tuesday, March 17.

Members of the city council are elected “at large,” meaning all Gulfport voters can cast ballots for the Ward 1 race. Four councilmembers represent their respective wards and serve two-year terms while a mayor represents the entire city and is elected for a three-year term.

For more information about Gulfport’s municipal election, contact Gulfport’s CityClerk Lesley DeMuth at City Hall, 2401 53rd Street S., phone: 727-893-1012.

April Thanos, challenger for the Ward 1 Gulfport City Council seat.

Gulfport City Councilmember Dan Liedtke, Ward 1 incumbent.

About 70 people attended the forum.


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