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Will Newton hits mailboxes with last-minute, positive mailer

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A last minute mailer hitting mailboxes in St. Pete’s District 7 Saturday touts City Council candidate Will Newton’s challenged youth living with a struggling single mother in an effort to relate to voters in the city’s most troubled district.

“Mine is a story not too different from most people who come from a large family,” Newton wrote on the back on a campaign mailer. “You watch someone go to work every day. You witness a strong work ethic and a passion of caring for others.”

Newton highlights in a brief narrative how his mother was a divorced mother with eight children to raise who “worked a lot” and implored each of the kids to “look out for each other.”

“That’s how responsibility came naturally to me,” Newton wrote. “She repeatedly told me I would have to take charge if anything happened to her. She died while I was still in high school. I made the funeral arrangements and began raising my young nephew, who lived with us.”

Newton wrote that he is “someone who comes from where you come from.” He touts government assistance programs that many of the constituents in his district rely on as tools that helped him succeed citing specifically food stamps, welfare, Head Start and a summer job through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act.

Newton has highlighted the importance of not just living wage jobs for residents in the community struggling with unemployment and underemployment, but also summer jobs to keep youth off the streets and provide them with valuable learning tools.

“There is a part of our beautiful city that seems out of reach for most people in District 7,” Newton wrote. “With your vote, I will work tirelessly to make that dream a reality.”

On the other side of Newton’s mailer there are quotes from four key endorsements including Council members Amy Foster and Steve Kornell and State Representative Darryl Rouson. Newton’s brother, Council member Wengay Newton, is also quoted endorsing him. Wengay Newton is leaving council due to term limits. His brother is running to replace him.

Voters who haven’t already voted by mail will hit the polls Tuesday for the five-way Primary Election between Newton, Lisa Wheeler-Brown, Sheila Scott-Griffin, Aaron Sharpe and Lewis Stephens. The top two vote-getters will move on the the November 3 Primary.

According to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, 1,775 mail ballots have been returned to date of a total 6,234 that were mailed.

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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