Former Buccaneers cheerleader and local lobbyist Bobbie Shay Lee has filed to run for St. Petersburg City Council District 1.
Lee, a registered Republican, is the third candidate to enter the race to succeed Councilmember Robert Blackmon after he announced his mayoral bid, leaving the District 1 seat open. Currently, she will face lawyer John Hornbeck, who ran unsuccessfully against Blackmon for the seat in 2019, and retired dentist Ed Carlson, known as “Dr. Ed.”
Democrat Copley Gerdes, son of Blackmon’s predecessor Charlie Gerdes, is also considering a run.
Lee is the former founder and director of The Center for Transparency and served as executive director of HomeAide Tampa Bay. She is regarded as a national advocate for health care and consumer protection.
“Much of my life has been spent working as a national spokesperson and breast cancer advocate,” Lee said in a statement.
Lee said in a news release announcing her candidacy that her journey started after being diagnosed with breast cancer at 25 years old, while under contract as an NFL cheerleader. Since then, Lee has built a career as a cancer advocate, public speaker, and campaign consultant.
Lee received a master’s degree in social work in policy and administration from Florida State University in 2000. She said she is passionate about reducing health disparities and opening access to resources for disenfranchised populations.
“We are failing to serve the basics needs of our children,” Lee said. “Too many go without food, housing, and protection from predators. Little to no attention is being given to their mental health as we evolve out of this pandemic.”
Lee was born and raised in the District 1 area, which covers west St. Pete. She currently resides in the city with her daughter, Aidyn.
The District 1 Special Election will appear on the ballot with the four scheduled Primary Elections on Aug. 24 in Districts 2, 4, 6 and 8, and on the Nov. 2 General Election, if needed.