Nelms declares candidacy for 158th District seat
● By Richard Gaw
Before nearly 100 former students and players, friends and local Democratic leaders, Rick Nelms, a former teacher and basketball coach, officially announced his candidacy for Pa. State Representative for the 158th District, at the Kennett Brewing Company on Jan. 27.
He will be running against Republican Eric Roe, who is in his first term as the representative for the District, in an election that will be held in November. The 158th District is made up of the municipalities and townships of Avondale, East Bradford, East Marlborough, London Britain, New Garden, Newlin, West Bradford and West Marlborough, as well as portions of West Goshen.
A graduate of West Chester University and Villanova University, Nelms taught Economics, American History and American Government at Jenkintown, Kennett and Coatesville high schools for 33 years, and was also a basketball coach for several years.
The chief talking points of Nelms' campaign focus on environmental protection; state legislature, pension and tax system reform; the promotion of strong public schools and small businesses; and the promotion of opioid addiction prevention.
His campaign will also focus on creating stepped-up measures intended to protect seniors, veterans and “Dreamers,” those young people currently protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an American immigration policy was established by the Obama administration in June 2012 aimed at allowing some individuals who entered the country as minors and remained illegally, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation. The policy was rescinded by the Trump administration in September 2017.
Describing himself as a political outsider with real-life experience, Nelms said that if he is elected, he will not “toe the party line.” A committee member for Indivisible Kennett Square, he said he was influenced to run after hearing the divisive rhetoric and tone of contemporary politics.
“I don't like the way our nation is going,” Nelms said. “There is a lot of bigotry and rhetoric and hatred in certain elements of our society. I'm a committee member for Indivisible Kennett Square, and the head of the committee sent out a memo asking if anyone was going to run for the office, so I'm running for the office.
“I'm running for State Representative because we need someone in the Pennsylvania State Legislature who will advocate for our residents, not special interests,” Nelms wrote on his website. “I believe in fiscal sanity and social justice. I'm not a politician, and I don't intend to become a career politician.”
Nelms wrote that if elected, he will not serve more than two two-year terms in the House.
“I've had some decent contributions from moderate Republicans, and I've had a supervisor pull me aside and tell me that if I get elected to Harrisburg, he thinks I can get things done,” he said. “If I am elected, I'm not going to toe the party line. I have brought people together to achieve a common goal, before.”
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.