Why Am I Running

Why Am I Running

Happy Holiday Season to You and Yours,

My name is Napoleon Nelson and I am running to succeed Steve McCarter as the next State Representative serving Cheltenham, Jenkintown, and Springfield. I am running for this role because there are many challenges we face, both locally, and at the state level. Challenges that will take time and a steady hand to solve. To do this we need bold ideas, compassionate leadership, and a brand of local activism that this Democratic Party is brimming with. I am ready to take the baton from the giants that have come before me to continue the progressive pursuits that Harrisburg has come to expect from this district.

I grew up in Mt. Airy and moved to my home in Wyncote in 2003. My father worked in finance, helping universities, hospitals, and municipal entities finance infrastructure projects. My mother was an urban planner who answered the call to ministry and then another call to eradicate homelessness. They raised my sister and I to value education, have compassion, and serve others. We always knew that “To whom much is given, much is expected”. I’m a graduate of Central High School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Wharton School of Business. My wife, Shareese, my high school sweetheart, is a building administrator at the Elkins Park School. I have served on the Cheltenham School board for 6 years and currently serve as a Trustee for the Montgomery County Community College and as the Finance Officer for Cheltenham Township. I have never been the type of elected official who will promise to fix all that ails us. However, I can promise you that I will not lose sight of what is happening in our neighborhoods and the urgency for progress. 

Since 2003, my wife and I have raised two wonderful kids in a vibrant neighborhood, one with babies and seniors, blended families, immigrants, corporate executives, and night shift workers. My neighborhood has tradespersons, clergy, full-time home-makers, people in need of a chance and people hoping that humanity will finally see beyond their disabilities to see their value. Children in my neighborhood are able to play, but they are also worried about the high-stakes tests coming at the end of the year, and the active shooter drills coming at the end of the month. Teenagers are learning what they need for entrance exams, but they are also learning how to talk to the police and still make it home each night. College degrees cost more and seem to mean less. Work comes and goes a bit too frequently. Access to business capital seems to be a privilege that only some entrepreneurs can count on. We’re worried about our health, our water and the next storm of the century that seems to always be right around the corner. Some are paying their parent’s bills because they can’t remember to do that themselves, and yet out of that same pocket, they’re paying for after-school care for their own children.  And the taxes!

I know that I am only scratching the surface of what keeps each of us up at night, but I think I can help. THIS is why I am running. YOU are why I am running. With your support, we will help shape the future of public education in this state with appropriate funding, quality teachers, rigorous curricula, and a dedication to equitable education for all students. 

With your support, we will help our seniors continue to thrive in our neighborhoods, providing local and state-level supports they need to age in the right place.

With your support, we will shore up our social services programs and the provision of care that we need to land safely when life knocks us down. Whether it is the color of your skin, the God you pray to, the person you love, balance in your checking account, the trauma in your past, or the struggles you wrestle with today, nothing should prevent you from accessing shelter, security, food, justice, education, patient-centered health options, or the ballot box.

All of us serve our community in different ways. Some of you coach, fight fires, work the local food pantry, or plant trees in the park. I want to bring my dedication to service to Harrisburg. I ask you for your support.

Yours in service,

Napoleon Nelson