Tampa Bay area lawyer Keisha Bell will again challenge Rep. Wengay Newton in House District 70 next year, she announced Wednesday.
Both Bell and Newton are Democrats, but Newton has been criticized by some within his own party for siding with Republicans on some issues. That includes supporting a bill increasing funding for school vouchers to send public school students to private school and a toll road proposal unpopular among most Democrats.
That project would extend the now 60-mile Suncoast Parkway from its current terminus north of Spring Hill along 150-miles of pristine rural land and another 150-mile toll road from Lakeland to Naples as well as 30 miles of tolled expressway connecting Wildwood to the new span of the Suncoast Parkway.
“We are in critical times, and I will fight for what our district needs – greater resources and funding for our public schools; high quality healthcare that people can afford; and environmental justice,” Bell said.
Bell’s parents were both teachers. She’s centering her campaign platform on public education, health care, the environment and any other areas Bell says the state “can do better.”
“Throughout my life, I have never been one to sit on the sidelines. I have always fought for those in need, for those who might not have a voice. I did that as a legal aid attorney, and when I spearheaded the Youth Conference Program. And when I go to Tallahassee, I will continue to be the voice of the voiceless and a fierce advocate for the people in district 70,” Bell said.
House District 70 includes parts of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Bell is a St. Pete native.
Bell finished second in a three-way primary against Newton and Vito Sheeley last year. She finished about 3,000 votes behind Newton with 36 percent of the vote. Newton won 49 percent of the vote with Sheeley earning just 15 percent.