Jiwa Farrell, 41, has filed to run against City Commissioner Bill Read, ensuring that there will be at least two races on the Nov. 5 city ballot. In the other race, five people are seeking to replace Justin Troller, who has reached term limits. Commissioner Phillip Walker has no opposition so far.

Farrell is a volunteer patient advocate for the Lupus Research Alliance (she discussed her lupus journey and lobbying experience in a 2007 Ledger profile) and a mass communications student at Florida Southern College. Her LinkedIn profile also lists her as an advocate for animal rights and the Lung Cancer Survivors Foundation.

Previously, she worked as a Geico claims adjuster and an American Express credit analyst in the company’s fraud division.

“I am running to be your Lakeland city commissioner for Northeast District B,” she says on her Facebook campaign page. “Lakeland is my home and I will bring a fresh perspective and compassion to the commission. I am engaged in our community and I want every voice to be heard.”

On her personal Facebook page, she notes she is the Polk County Precinct 201 Democratic precinct leader.

Farrell grew up in South Florida and moved to Lakeland during her mid-20s.

Incumbent Read has served one term on the commission, running unopposed in 2015 for the seat vacated by Keith Merritt.

Formal qualifying for City Commission races takes place the week of Sept. 16-20. City Commission races are nonpartisan.

City commissioners say they will also place proposed changes to the City Charter on the Nov. 5 ballot but the format of the ballot questions has not been determined yet.


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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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