Howard Wiggs wins election to become mayor of Lakeland, defeating Mayor Gow Fields

11:46 PM, Nov 5, 2013   |    comments
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Howard Wiggs waves to drivers on the Monday before the Lakeland mayoral election



Lakeland, Florida - Commissioner Howard Wiggs bested Gow Fields in the Lakeland mayor's race on Tuesday.

"We're going to start bringing this community back together," said Wiggs moments after learning the results.

The final results, which came in around 9 p.m., showed that Wiggs landed 6,834 votes versus Fields' 6,221.


Just a block away, there was a somber tone at the Gow Fields gathering.

"I left him a voice mail once I knew the results," said Mayor Fields.

The race became contentious due to the problems that plague the Lakeland Police Department. Dozens of LPD employees have been disciplined, more than a dozen have resigned, and one was arrested.

See also: Lakeland Commissioners call for Police Chief's job

The issues range from sexual misconduct to sex abuse allegations against an officer.

See also: Shocking 911 call released in LPD officer sex arrest

"I've heard from too many police officers and I believe we need a change in leadership," said Wiggs.

But the outgoing mayor said that Wiggs may underestimate the size of the job he will soon take over.

"The expectation of the public are far greater than what he probably realizes on the mayor's office," said Fields.

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