Stephanie Owens named deputy mayor and chief of policy

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor-elect Ken Welch announced several key people who will serve in his administration on Wednesday. Among those named are Stephanie Owens, who will step into the role of deputy mayor and chief of policy, and Janelle Irwin Taylor, who will serve as director of communications. Welch also announced Tom Greene will serve as interim city administrator.

“Inclusive progress for our city will take a focused commitment to equity, innovation, collaboration and community impact,” Welch said. “I am thrilled to welcome these new staff members to the excellent team already in place at city hall. Each has a depth of experience and dedication to our city that will serve citizens well.” 

After more than 20 years of public policy experience in Florida and Washington, D.C., Owens worked as Welch’s transition director and campaign manager. She served as an appointee of President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton. Owens held senior positions in the White House and the Departments of Health and Human Services, where she created public policies to help implement the Affordable Care Act. 

Owens also worked with the Environmental Protection Agency, where she guided Gulf Coast states’ citizen participation in the community restoration process after the Deep Horizon oil disaster, and Commerce, where she worked on improving the federal procurement policy for small and disadvantaged businesses.

Additionally, Owens led a Clinton Presidential Task Force in Florida, directing the efforts of nine federal agencies’ $46M in programs in response to civil unrest after the police shooting of an unarmed motorist. Her actions created an urban revitalization model that Florida Governor Jeb Bush replicated. Owens later served as the Federal Interagency Task Force director in St. Petersburg and principal of Dolphin Strategies LLC in St. Petersburg. 

“Ms. Owens’ leadership, policy experience, and commitment to the mission of innovation and inclusion have played a key role in our success. As deputy mayor and chief of policy, she will continue her stellar public service to develop effective and impactful policy and programs that lift up every St. Petersburg resident.” Welch said. 

Greene is currently St. Petersburg’s assistant city administrator, a position he has held since 2018. Before that, he served as the city’s budget director. A graduate of the University of South Florida, Greene also holds a master’s degree in political management from George Washington University. 

He also has more than a decade of experience working as an investment banker of public finance, including seven years with Raymond James Financial, where he served as vice president of their Public Finance Real Estate Group.

Irwin Taylor has more than 10 years of experience in political journalism in the Tampa Bay area. She’s spent her career analyzing political strategy, government, and policy at the local, state, and national levels.

Irwin Taylor served as senior editor for Florida Politics since 2019 and previously held roles at the Tampa Bay Business Journal and WMNF Community Radio. She’s a regular pundit on local radio and television, offering insight into how local politics affects everyday issues ranging from education and public safety to tax policy and the environment. 

Also announced Wednesday that Doyle Walsh will serve as a senior advisor to Welch. Walsh has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Florida State University and a Juris Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law. He served as an aide to Pinellas County Commissioner Janet C. Long for seven years, where he worked closely with regional leaders to implement solutions on a broad set of issues ranging from transportation and climate change to state and federal legislative priorities. 

Welch served five terms on the Pinellas County Commission and won the November mayoral election with more than 60 percent of the vote, becoming the first African American elected to the city’s top elected office. 

Tune in to watch the inauguration of St. Petersburg’s 54th mayor Thursday, Jan. 6. The speech will be carried on the city’s television channel St. Pete TV and streamed on the city’s Facebook page. It will also include video from earlier in the day of Welch being sworn in.

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