ST. PETERSBURG — Incumbent City Council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman easily won re-election Tuesday over challenger Eritha “Akile” Cainion in District 7.
She collected 82 percent of the vote against opponent Eritha “Akile” Cainion to retain her seat in the predominantly black District 7, near the Gulfport border.
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“I am honored to have been re-elected to the St. Petersburg City Council as the Councilmember for District 7," Wheeler-Bowman said in a statement. "I’m so grateful that I get to continue doing the work I love for another four years. I want to thank everyone who voted for me, all my supporters who knocked doors, made phone calls, and contributed to my campaign, and of course, my family and friends. Together, we will continue to make St. Petersburg a better place for everyone.”
The race for District 7 featured candidates with two starkly different views of the city. Wheeler-Bowman, who was backed by Mayor Rick Kriseman and nearly all her colleagues on the council, believes the city is taking the right approach in tackling issues such as affordable housing and repairing the sewage system.
She touted the accomplishments of her first term, including a commitment to spend $15 million of Penny for Pinellas funds over the next 10 years to buy land that can be turned over to developers to build affordable housing. She also supports a plan released over the summer by Kriseman, his "For All, From All” affordable housing plan, which commits $60 million over the next 10 years to create and preserve 2,400 units of affordable homes.
Cainion, in contrast, characterized the city as monopolized by developers and succumbing to gentrification to the detriment of the black community. A member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, she ran a campaign about securing reparations to the city’s black community, mainly through the redevelopment of the 86-acres underneath the Tropicana Field site.
All council members serve four-year terms and make $49,281 annually. Wheeler-Bowman will be sworn in for her second term in January.
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