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Will Newton to launch campaign for his brother’s City Council seat

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A third candidate has jumped into the race for St. Pete City Council District 7. Will Newton, brother of incumbent Wengay Newton, designated a campaign treasurer Thursday afternoon.

Wengay Newton is term-limited out of office this year and will instead be running for the state House seat being vacated by Daryl Rousson. His brother, Will, comes with an impressive list of accomplishments throughout the community.

Will Newton is a retired firefighter EMT for St. Pete Fire and Rescue. In 2011 Winnie, his nickname among other firefighters, was honored as the Professional Firefighter of the Year by the governor and Cabinet.

Newton currently serves as the president of the Pinellas County Professional Firefighters union and district vice president of the Florida Professional Firefighters.

Will Newton is also the past president of the Child’s Park Neighborhood Association.

For now, Newton is designating himself the treasurer for his own campaign.

Newton will be joined on the ballot by Council of Neighborhoods Associations immediate past president Lisa Wheeler-Brown. Brown is a well-known community activist in low-income neighborhoods in Midtown and Child’s Park. She’s best known for her work in combating those neighborhoods’ “no snitching” codes after her son was murdered.

Also running is Aaron Sharpe. Sharpe currently serves as the president of a nonprofit he founded, Volunteer Society of America. He’s also the co-president of the Pasadena Bear Creek Neighborhood Association along with his wife. Sharpe has served on the city’s code enforcement board for six years and as the chair of that board for three.

Though Newton has designated a treasurer, he has not yet qualified for the race. The last day for qualifying is Monday. Sharpe has also not yet qualified. He said he plans to tomorrow.

Brown qualified for the race earlier this month on the first day of qualifying.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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