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St. Pete Council Candidates Head To Aug. 27 Primary

ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- With issues on the table ranging from repairing the city's aging sewage system to revising the historic preservation ordinance, St. Petersburg voters will head to the polls Aug. 27 to choose city council candidates who will face off in the general election Nov. 5.

Vying to replace councilman Ed Montanari's in District 3 are Orlando A. Acosta and Zac Collins.

With District 5 council member Steve Kornell's term in office expiring in January, contenders for his seat are Beth Connor, Trenia L. Cox, Deborah Figgs-Sanders, Philip Garrett and Anne Lenholt Hirsch.

 Candidates looking to oust District 7 council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman are Eritha "Akile" Cainion, Chico Cromartie and Sarah Elizabeth Moore.

Current council chairman Charlie Gerdes, who holds the District 1 seat, will end his tenure on the council in January as well. Two candidates — Robert G. Blackmon and John Hornbeck — are angling to win his seat in the general election.

As of Friday, 27,079 vote by mail ballots were sent out and 8,843 have been returned. In all, 69,654 St. Petersburg residents are eligible to vote in the nonpartisan primary.


About the candidates

Orlando A. Acosta is a retired career U.S. Air Force officer with 13 years serving at 4-star command headquarters: U.S. Central Command in Tampa and the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, Afghanistan. Moses is the founder of UMD International, a company that helps clients protect critical information and operations from commercial and military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Zac Collins served four years in the United States Coast Guard, graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in creative writing from USF and a law degree from Barry University of Law. He now works as a brewer at Arkane Aleworks in Largo.

A paralegal, Beth Connor has lived in St. Petersburg for more than 50 years and has been an active member of the Sierra Club since 1986. She is also active on St. Petersburg's Sustainability Council.

Trenia Cox spent more than 20 years at the Juvenile Welfare Board before retiring as senior special services coordinator in 2017. She studied sociology at Western Michigan University. She currently serves on the Pinellas Homeless Leadership Board, is a former manager of the City of St. Petersburg's Minority Business Development Program and a former adjunct professor of social and behavioral sciences with St. Petersburg College.

Deborah Figgs-Sanders is a small business owner and civic activist. She is a member of the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area Citizen Advisory Committee, the 2020 Plan Task Force and former executive director of the Childs Park YMCA.

A graduate of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Phil Garrett is a substitute teacher and former Hillsborough Country property appraiser. He previously ran for city council against Steve Kornell in 2015.

Anne Lenholt Hirsch is a former teacher and midwife. She holds a bachelor of arts in education from USF and a Certificate of Midwifery from the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery. She is the South region coordinator for the socialist Uhuru Solidarity Movement, seeking reparations for blacks.

Lisa Wheeler-Bowman first entered the public eye in 2008 when her son was murdered, and she took to the streets to find his killer, leading to an arrest and conviction. Elected in 2015, Wheeler-Bowman is running for a second term on the city council. She chaired the council last year. She also serves on the board of directors for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and the St. Petersburg Housing, Land Use and Transportation Committee.

Eritha "Akile" Cainion ran for the District 6 seat in 2017 and is now seeking the District 7 slot. An outspoken black activist, she's a member of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement. Her campaign slogan is "Make the Southside black again" in protest of the area's gentrification. Just 22 years old, she was president of her senior class at St. Petersburg Collegiate High School. She graduate in 2015 with both a high school diploma and an associate's of arts degree.

One of this election cycle's more controversial candidates, Chico Cromartie said he believes sexual orientation is a choice and doesn't believe city resources should be used for LGBTQ-related services and events. A former city hall intern, he holds an associate of arts degree and a bachelor of science degree from St. Petersburg College and is currently seeking his master's degree in public administration at the University of Miami.

 Sarah Elizabeth Moore, also 22 years old, is a St. Petersburg native and the first in her family to attend college. She recently graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor of science degree in political science. She graduated from Lakewood High School in the top 10 percent of her class and served on the Student Government Association. 


via D'Ann Lawrence White,

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Lisa Wheeler-Bowman for St. Petersburg City Council, District 7
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