BY SKYLA LUCKEY, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – Winthrop “Will” Newton, candidate for the District 7 City Council seat, opened up in part about his personal life, but was decidedly focused on the goals he has for the city if elected.
Newton is the youngest of eight children, two years younger than his city councilmember brother, Wengay Newton, who he’s hoping to replace. He gives credit to his mother for instilling the desire in him to look out for others. His mother raised five boys and three girls by herself, and this made for tough times. He watched his mother work a lot to support them. The movie, “The Help” reminds him of the kind of work his mother did.
“Basically she’s instructed us to always look out for each other,” Newton said of his late mother He believes his mother’s strong work ethic was handed down to him by the way she reared her children while living in south St. Pete.
In high school he worked at McDonald’s and eventually became a shift manager. “I was there when they were wearing the brown paper hats and polyester pants,” he said with a laugh.
Since he’s always had the desire to help others, he thought that working as a firefighter would be the career best suited for him. After high school he enrolled in what is now known as Pinellas Technical College in the Fire Academy. When that course was completed he attended St. Petersburg Junior College to become an Emergency Medical Technician. Working as a firefighter he learned to take the good with the bad that comes along with that line of work.
“If I ever got a call that was an abusive situation—that was never good,” said Newton. “Especially if it was with a child or a female, but you know you go to those and you have to try to do the best you can to work the call. But it does bother you when you see someone being treated a certain way when they can’t fight back for themselves.”
Some of his most rewarding experiences were medical calls. The satisfaction he receives from responding to an elderly person having trouble breathing or to someone whose blood sugar had dropped dangerously low is a result of the genuine care he has for others inculcated in him by his mother.
He considers the firefighters he’s worked with through the years as his family. He has relied on his firefighter brothers and sisters for support as they have on him when times have been challenging either from work of their personal lives.
Newton has never been one to shy away from a challenge such as hiking on the Appalachian Trail, which starts in Georgia and ends in Maine. He and his fellow firefighters enjoyed the challenges of the trail and the camaraderie they shared.
Taking on the challenges the city is faced with is something Newton aspires to do. He wants to help pave a positive way for the homeless and help create stable futures for the city’s children.