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Lisa Wheeler-Brown qualifies for St. Pete City Council race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Though her name has been in the hat for quite some time, Lisa Wheeler-Brown has officially qualified for the race for St. Pete City Council District 7. Wheeler-Brown filed campaign documents with the city clerk on the first day of qualifying.

“My time in the Army taught me that you need to lead from the front, not fall in with the crowd,” Wheeler-Brown said. “St. Petersburg needs a leader who will fight for our families.”

Wheeler-Brown became active in the community after her son was murdered in 2008. Police initially had trouble finding his killer because people in the community were afraid to come forward with information.

The stalled case prompted Wheeler-Brown to become an activist against the community’s so-called no snitching code of silence. Her son’s killer was eventually caught after witnesses came forward and is now serving three life sentences.

“When my son’s case went cold, I didn’t wait around for someone else to solve the problem. I stood up for what’s right and helped other people find the courage to do the same,” said Wheeler-Brown.  “I’m running for City Council to continue my advocacy for the families of District 7 and all of St Petersburg.”

Wheeler-Brown continued her efforts to reduce crime in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods including Midtown and Child’s Park and was nationally recognized for her activism.

She was the first African American to serve as president of the St. Pete Council of Neighborhood Associations.

“We need sustainable jobs that people can count on, and we need to work with our small business owners to grow our economy,” Wheeler-Brown said. “No working family should have to worry about putting food on the table or keeping a roof over their head.”

Wheeler-Brown is running to replace current City Council member Wengay Newton, who is leaving council because of term limits. Pasadena Bear Creek Neighborhood Association President Aaron Sharpe is challenging her.

Sharpe announced his bid for City Council last month, but has not yet qualified for the race. Qualifying began Tuesday morning and runs through June 22.

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 Patch.com 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 janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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