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New contender hops into race for honorary mayor

He's not sure what his campaign plans are, but restaurateur Steve Slowey will compete against Nelson Rivera for the post.

By MICHELLE JONES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 10, 2002


LAND O'LAKES -- The honorary mayor's race now has a little competition.

With Steve Slowey in the contest, Nelson Rivera is no longer alone in the quest for the unpaid position.

Slowey, 37, is the owner of Beef O'Brady's restaurant in the Village Lakes Shopping Center on State Road 54 in Land O'Lakes. And, although a resident of Valrico, Slowey has been a strong supporter of the community that provides income for him. He opened Beef's in 1993 and has been an active part of the community since, supporting Land O'Lakes' numerous youth athletic teams.

Recently he headed the annual golf tournament for the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the mayor's race, and he will sponsor Kid's Night at the annual Flapjack Festival in November.

Adding another twist is Slowey's sponsor: Harry Wright, owner of Hungry Harry's barbecue restaurant.

"Why? Because it goes with my continued 18 years of anyone but me, (for mayor)," said Wright, another strong community supporter. "I'd sponsor Steve in whatever he does."

For starters, Wright will have a barrel in his restaurant on Land O'Lakes Boulevard for people to fill with money.

"I'll match whatever they put in," he said.

The winner of the title is the person who raises the most money, with 10 percent going to candidates' favorite charities and the rest to the chamber.

Kathy Dunkley, executive director of the chamber, doesn't know what Slowey has planned for his fundraisers, as he signed up Thursday.

"I haven't even talked to him," she said.

Slowey doesn't even know what his plans are.

"People who work for me are making plans," he said.

Why did he jump on the bandwagon?

"Harry decided I should run," he said referring to his friend Wright. "I'm a director on the chamber's board, and it was the thing to do."

His slogan is Wing it and Vote for Steve Slowey, referring to his popular chicken wings.

If elected, he stated on his application that he would "kiss all the moms and hug all the babies."

It's not known what his wife, Sheri, has to say about the promised kisses.

The couple have two children, Savannah and Robert. Slowey likes to play golf and fish in his spare time.

More candidates are welcome to join the race that ends Nov. 1 during the Flapjack Festival. The honorary mayor appears at ribbon cuttings, parades and other community events.

-- Michelle Jones covers central Pasco community news. She can be reached at (813) 909-4612 or toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 4612. Her e-mail address is jones@sptimes.com.

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