A couple big issues Welch plans to focus on are reducing gun violence and creating more affordable housing.By Casey Albritton

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Local St. Petersburg residents are reacting after Ken Welch, the first black mayor, was elected, beating republican opponent Robert Blackmon.

A couple big issues Welch plans to focus on are reducing gun violence and creating more affordable housing.

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As for residents, some are very excited, while others say they are going into this mayoral term with an open mind.

Mary Bogans, a resident in St. Petersburg, says “Excited! I mean, it was such a blessing. It was not expected. It was just like ‘boom.’ all I can say is overexcitement.”

Another resident, Brennan Cochran, says “Like I said, he’s got experience, so let’s give him a chance, and we will go from there.”

Many local residents in St. Petersburg say they are optimistic about the new mayor elect, Ken Welch.

“This is destiny,” said Bogans.

Welch is a five-term Pinellas County Commissioner, and beat republican opponent, Robert Blackmon Tuesday night. Welch will now be the first black mayor of St. Petersburg!

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“We are moving forward. We had a black president, now we have a black mayor of the city, so we are just moving forward as a black people,” said Bogans.

Bogans says she wants to see welch make some big changes in the community.

“The violence, also the low-income homes. I’m looking for families and the homeless to find places to go,” said Bogans.

Cochran says welch should focus on other things.

“I would really look at the graffiti in the area. I would also focus on lowering the cost of your waste. Throwing your trash away on this point costs a lot of money,” said Cochran.

But both residents say they hope to see positive results from the new mayor.

“I hope he does what he’s promised to do,” said Bogans.

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Welch will take over as mayor on January 6 and will serve for four years.