St. Pete Beach mayor to leave office before term is up

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Pete Beach Mayor Maria Lowe told a group of beach mayors Wednesday that she plans to leave office shortly before her term and will not run for re-election in March.

Lowe said she will be going with her husband, Gerald, to Paris, France, late this year. He has accepted a job as the deputy director of the American Battle Monuments Commission. The ABMC, created by Congress in 1923, is responsible for America’s overseas commemorative cemeteries and memorials that honor the service, achievements and sacrifice of U.S. Armed Forces.

Lowe, who is a disabled Afghan War combat veteran, said she prayed about the decision to go with her husband. She made the announcement Wednesday at a meeting of the Barrier Islands Governmental Council, a coalition of 11 beach communities. Lowe had been chosen treasurer of the group and was due to be sworn in. Lowe said she has set no resignation date and plans to remain in Pinellas until the end of the year, but wanted to give members of the Big C a chance to choose a treasurer who could fill out the term.

Lowe also announced the news on her Facebook page:

“As Memorial Day approaches, I am honored to announce that my husband has been selected as the deputy director of cemetery operations for the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) which tends the graves of our fallen soldiers worldwide.

“I am immensely proud that our family will be a part this remarkably patriotic responsibility. The cemeteries like Normandy are a striking, somber reminder of the sacrifices made in order to uphold the freedoms of our country and preserve the freedoms of our allies. Some gave all…and we must never forget that freedom is not free.

“ABMC is headquartered in Paris, France where we will move by the end of the year. However, we will maintain our home in St. Pete Beach and return often to be with our beloved friends and community. When our time of service is done, we’ll return home.

“I will continue to serve as mayor for the remainder of the year. I look forward to working with the candidates that will seek your vote to be your next mayor so that there will be a quality transition and exchange of knowledge. Being a commissioner is a remarkable experience, and I hope more people will raise their hand to help guide and protect our piece of paradise.

“Thank you for the opportunity that you have given to me to be a part of this community in such a rewarding way.”

Lowe is in her first term as mayor. She was elected in 2013, defeating incumbent Steve McFarlin. She is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and George Washington University. She is married and has one child and two dogs.