Donald Bowens lands endorsements from longtime state Senator, Suncoast PBA
Image via Donald Bowens

Donald Bowens
Bowens is a former wide receiver for North Carolina State University.

Sen. Darryl Rouson and the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association are backing Donald Bowens Jr. for St. Petersburg City Council, District 7.

Bowens is running to replace Brother John Muhammad, who was appointed in late 2022 following the resignation of Lisa Wheeler-Bowman over residency requirements. Muhammad announced over the weekend that he would not seek election to the seat, making this the first time since 2015 the District 7 race has been open.

“As a longtime resident of St. Petersburg, I know we must have true fighters in office. Our city is at a crossroads, and there are many big decisions ahead that will impact generations to come,” Rouson said. “Donald Bowens will make sure the most vulnerable communities do not go voiceless, while making sure each and every citizen gets a seat at the table.”

Rouson said he looks forward to working with Bowens “to make St. Petersburg a better city for us all.”

The Suncoast PBA, in a letter announcing its endorsement, said it will ask its members, families and friends to support Bowens.

Bowens is a former wide receiver for North Carolina State University. He is a graduate of St. Pete High School, where he excelled as a football player, and later attended N.C. State on an athletic scholarship.

He was inducted into St. Pete High’s Hall of Fame in 2022. At N.C. State, he earned recognition as a Top Newcomer to the school’s football program.

After graduation, Bowens returned to St. Pete where he now works in health care management, including former roles as director of operations at HCA Florida Brandon Hospital, HCA Florida Northside Hospital and HCA Florida Pasadena Hospital.

Bowens also is a youth coach and director of his family’s charitable foundation, The Melville Foundation.

Bowens is running on a platform to create economic opportunity for all, enhance affordable housing, particularly for the city’s most vulnerable residents, and to establish robust access to youth programs.

Bowens faces two others so far in the race — former Rep. Wengay Newton, who served the district before Wheeler-Bowman, and restaurateur Daniel Soronen. Both Newton and Soronen unsuccessfully applied to be appointed to the district after Wheeler-Bowman’s resignation.

Newton filed to run in October and, as of the end of December, had raised $1,000.

Soronen just filed for the race Wednesday, while Bowens entered in mid-January. That means neither will file finance reports until April 10, covering contributions and expenditures from Jan. 1 through March 31.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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