As I hold the sea shell to my ear while starring into the abyss I hear, “you have to get the people.”
When your name is Anthony Leonardo Cates III you have to be prepared mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually for what God has in store for you. My father Anthony Cates Sr. has paved such a way with pride, dignity, integrity, strength and honor that if I’m anything less than omnipotent everything he stood for and taught me would’ve been done in vain.
My father the entrepreneur, autodidact in anthropology and believer of the Nation of Islam, my hero, sacrificed his freedom when he rebelled against the United States Air Force and served time because he wanted to follow his heart and serve his people under the auspice of Islam. The very mission I was conditioned for. After coming to Florida in 1974 and meeting his Queen Irene Word who accepted his hand in holy matrimony had nine children not to mention he was a surrogate father to all he reached.
Growing up life wasn’t easy. We didn’t have much money or materialistic items. In fact any spare money we had my father would give it to the less fortunate. My father once chartered a grey hound bus and purchased tickets so that everyone in the community could go watch Farrakhan speak on Saviors Day. These are the selfless acts my father committed in order to deliver the message to the people.
His messages and life lessons have afforded me the opportunity to elevate my knowledge of people and understanding of business.
Throughout life my father instilled many life lessons. At 27, I must say I was extremely fortunate to have such a magnificent person to help guide and mold me. Then the unimaginable happened. I was in Orlando, Florida, sleeping at the Holiday Inn Resort when my phone rang. With one eye open I looked at the screen and it was my sister, Corine Mumtaz. In my mind I asked myself why is she calling me so early? She never calls me this early I thought. I started to silence the call, yet something told me to answer. My right index finger swipes to the right and I say, Hello!” In a somber voice my sister says, “Hey, how are you?” “I’m fine,” I responded. In my mind I wanted to say why are you calling me so early? Then I heard four words that I never knew was so potent. “You know he’s gone.” Now I’m wide awake and attentive sitting on the edge of the bed in a hotel room purchased by Walmart. “What do you mean?” I replied. That’s when she told me my father had passed away. Before the emotions could hit me I told my sister immediately that I would call her back. Instantly after hanging up I broke down. I couldn’t believe it especially since I just saw my father ten hours prior. “Ask your mother what we’re eating tonight.” I walked out to the garage where my mother was sitting and relayed the message. My mother replied, “stir fry.” So I proceeded back inside the house and told my father. Standing tall in the corner of the kitchen leaning on the pink tile counter tops holding a brown staff I bought 15 years prior at a folk fair my father replied, “I don’t want no stir fry!” I started laughing and gave my goodbyes to travel and finish my training for my new career at Walmart. So I jumped up and washed my face in preparation to drive back to St. Petersburg, Florida, to be with my family. Still in the hotel room my sister called me back to see if I was ok. Hiding the pain I said, “Yes, I’m on the way back.” Once again after hanging up I broke down again. This time even harder. I never knew crying could be that silent. Growing up being disciplined I always wondered what my father meant when he told us to be quite after getting a spanking. At 26 the life lesson was fulfilled. To keep from waking my neighbors in the rooms to the left and right of me who never knew that a young mans life was changed forever. I lost my Father, healer, teacher, friend and God, April 10th, 2016.
My fathers last wish for me was to follow my dream and run for Mayor of Saint Petersburg, Florida. My campaign, “The People’s Campaign!”
As your next mayor I plan to combat these plaguing issues with your help. Infrastructure, sustained economic development, crime and deficiencies in our education system. My agenda includes transparency, equality and diversity. For 20 years I’ve been a part of many organizations that improves the quality of life here in St. Petersburg from Juvenile Arbitration to I Support Youth, INC. I’ve managed both small retail companies and large retail companies with budgets of $100+ million. I have what it takes to govern. Most important I have what it takes to lead St. Petersburg in the right direction.
My campaign “The People’s Campaign” is the only campaign this election cycle that hasn’t received any media coverage and that’s solely due to my tact and diplomacy. My ability to eloquently speak against corporate interest and big business. My class and true leadership to unite the people is well articulated. In moving forward, we must always stress sustainability and conservation and all 260,00 citizens will play a major part in the success of St. Petersburg.
My plan to invest strategically in our children’s earliest years, putting dollars where they will do the most good, gives the youngest Citizens new opportunities for top quality child care and early education. Children are our most important resource and every child deserves what the wisest parents want for their own youngsters. By strengthening “zero to five” programs that have proven their value, like Early Head Start and state prekindergarten, and giving parents affordable choices, my plan sets an agenda that can meet the challenges of the future.
Infrastructure Development involves fundamental structures that are required for the functioning of a community & society. This is usually referred to structures like roads, water supply, sewers, renewable energy, and so on. Investing in our out of date infrastructure will boost economic growth. We must also establish a goal of making all new buildings carbon neutral, or produce zero emissions, by 2030. As far as our transit system we will re-commit federal resources (like the resources Rick Scott rejected) to public mass transportation projects across the county.
Yet, none of that matters because we continue to glorify things of no relevance and trust the people who doesn’t have our best interest at heart.
This is Anthony Cates III. I approve this message to ask you to believe-not just in my ability to bring about real change in St. Petersburg. I’m asking you to believe in yours.
Anthony L. Cates III
Anthony Cates for Mayor of Saint Petersburg, Florida.