Bay New 9 anchor Erica Riggins leaves for Welch administration

Mayor Ken Welch appointed Spectrum Bay News 9 morning anchor Erica Riggins as the city’s chief information officer.

ST. PETERSBURG –- Mayor Ken Welch announced Bay News 9 morning anchor Erica Riggins as the new public information officer.

Along with the Riggins announcement, the mayor revealed other key appointments, including Jordan Doyle Walsh as interim chief of staff, Alizza Punzalan-Randle as managing director for communications and community engagement and Shelly Loos as director of stakeholder and community engagement.

“I’m incredibly excited to announce these impactful appointments to our administration,” said Mayor Welch. “Their decades of work in the community will prove invaluable as we continue our mission towards inclusive progress. Collaborating with the community and key stakeholders is imperative to ensuring transparency and accountability at all levels of this administration. I look forward to working alongside our current and new team members to serve the people of our great city, continuing our partnership to build the St. Petersburg of the future while honoring those who were so instrumental in shaping our past.”

The new appointments come on the heels of two key staff members’ resignations earlier this month. On Sept. 1, former Communication Director Janelle Irwin Taylor resigned, citing a “culture of bullying” fostered by former Deputy Mayor and Chief of Policy Stephanie Owens.

The next day, Owens tendered her resignation. In a news conference, Welch announced the deputy mayor position would be deleted.

Erica Riggins has served as a celebrity guest judge at the 22nd annual Dine With Men Who Cook competition sponsored by the men of Bethel A.M.E. Church for years. Pictured above in 2017.

For nearly 20 years, Tampa Bay viewers have been waking up to Riggins on “Your Morning News.” She is an award-winning journalist and a staple in the community.

A Texas native, Riggins’ broadcasting career had an unusual beginning. Graduating as a mechanical engineer from the University of Texas at Austin, she put her degree to work as an equipment engineer for Motorola. Over the next several years, as she grew within the company, she realized that she wanted to be a part of something bigger and make a difference in her community.

Riggins then set out on a new career path. She returned to school to study communications and television journalism, beginning her new career in Sherman, Texas, as a weekend anchor and reporter for KXII-TV. From there, she returned to her hometown to report for the 24-hour local news channel News 8 Austin, now Spectrum News and later anchored the evening news.

Always looking for new challenges, Riggins moved to the Tampa Bay area to serve as weekend morning anchor for Spectrum Bay News 9. Recognized for her exceptional achievements, she won an Emmy award for Outstanding Live Report for her story on students protesting the Iraq war.

Erica Riggins hosted the 47th annual Sickle Cell Benefit Dinner in 2019.

Riggins also won the prestigious national Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Documentary for a series of reports focusing on the growing and disturbing trends of child abuse and countless other awards.

She has a passion for uplifting and protecting children. She’s proud to be a new advisory board member for the Heart Gallery of Pinellas and Pasco, a Gulf Coast JCFS program connecting foster children with their forever homes.

You’ll find her spending most of her time in area parks and playgrounds with her three young sons.

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