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St. Pete City Council elects new chairwoman, vice chairman

Lisa Wheeler-Bowman will be chairwoman of what is almost definitely the first majority female City Council in city history. Steve Kornell will be vice chairman.
LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
St. Petersburg Council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, Mayor Rick Kriseman and campaign staff member 
Vito Shelley chat before hitting the campaign trail as they knock on doors and ask for votes in the Twin Brooks neighborhood. [Saturday, August 5, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
LUIS SANTANA | Times St. Petersburg Council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, Mayor Rick Kriseman and campaign staff member Vito Shelley chat before hitting the campaign trail as they knock on doors and ask for votes in the Twin Brooks neighborhood. [Saturday, August 5, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
Published Dec. 18, 2017|Updated Dec. 19, 2017

Lisa Wheeler-Bowman will preside over a majority-female City Council in January, likely the first in city history.

Wheeler-Bowman was elected chairwoman at the council's Dec. 14 meeting. Steve Kornell, who will be the council's longest-serving member, was picked to be vice chairman.

Wheeler-Bowman, elected to council in 2015, had served as vice chairwoman this year.  Vice chairs are frequently tapped by their colleagues to chair the council the following year.

As chairwoman, a one-year position, Wheeler-Bowman will lead the council's meetings and serve as principal liaison with Mayor Rick Kriseman's office.

Kornell, who was first elected in 2009, will be the longest-serving member of council when it reconvenes in January.

Gina Driscoll and Brandi Gabbard will join Amy Foster, Charlie Gerdes, Ed Montanari and outgoing chairwoman Darden Rice on the council.

As far as available council records indicate, the five woman majority will be the first in city history. The City Clerk's office is hesitant to declare it officially since many decades-old records leave the gender of the members unclear.

Wheeler-Bowman and Kornell's new roles will become official at the council's Jan. 4, 2018 meeting.

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