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Duensing offers people skills in District 8 race in St. Pete


Published:   |   Updated: August 10, 2013 at 11:13 PM

ST. PETERSBURG — One hand-painted “Vote Alex Duensing” sign is attached to a three-foot yellow castle complete with turret; another has a painting of a woman with three cartoon bubbles saying “Let love grow.”

In all, Duensing had more than 15 signs made by local artists who volunteered their time, emblematic of the 39-year-old’s belief that the city can make much more use of people’s passion to get involved. A poet and former adjunct professor, he has made his beatific perspective a central part of his unconventional run for District 8.

While other candidates talk about economic incentives to attract new businesses, Duensing’s campaign pledge is to walk through his district knocking on doors and saying “I’m your city council member; how can I help you.”

He said he has the skills to connect people with the services they need and to get groups to work together.

“My signs are an example of how beautification can be done at no cost to the government by partnering with people,” he said. “People need to start coming together.”

Duensing said encouraging the city’s artistic community will help the area attract new businesses. If elected, he would like to see city libraries get help buying books and movies from local businesses. He also proposes a “Gallery of the Streets,” a collection of street art that both beautifies the city and gives artists a way to showcase their work.

He would push more training and classes for school students by promoting partnerships between the Pinellas Education Foundation and local groups and businesses, and call for more resources for the city’s recreation centers to market those opportunities.

He said he also would promote more urban farming and support Pinellas County’s light-rail and bus expansion initiative.

To lower crime, he said, he would encourage more community involvement and closer ties between police and residents.

A New Jersey native, Duensing has lived in the Tampa Bay area for eight years and in St. Petersburg since 2008. He said he is a full-time candidate but also does some consulting for Reversible Destiny Foundation, a group that believes certain types of architecture increase people’s life spans.

He said the city can be transformed if it learns how to connect people who want to make a difference.

“They are oftentimes not clear on how to get involved,” he said.

codonnell@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-7654

Twitter: @codonnellTBO

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