Neilson accepts nomination for City Council run

When my fam­ily and I first de­cided that I would run for elect­ive of­fice, we hit the streets hard. I per­son­ally knocked on thou­sands of doors with my fam­ily and friends throughout my North­east dis­trict and bey­ond. My mes­sage was simple: We needed to make cer­tain that the 169th dis­trict con­tin­ued to have a strong voice in Har­ris­burg, and I was the best can­did­ate to serve you. The ef­forts paid off. I gained your sup­port and won the elec­tion to serve in the Pennsylvania House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives. I will be forever grate­ful for your friend­ship and sup­port.

From day one in of­fice, a battle en­sued to keep the 169th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict in­tact. Pro­posed re­dis­trict­ing was ul­ti­mately en­acted by the le­gis­lature, and the 169th dis­trict will move to York County as of the next elec­tion cycle. No of­fense to the good people of York County – I hear they make a heck of a Pep­per­mint Pat­tie – but I’m a Phil­adelphi­an and I nev­er once thought of leav­ing this place I have called home all of my life.

I have not missed a vote in the Pennsylvania House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives since be­ing elec­ted to the post, a fairly rare ac­com­plish­ment. Our of­fice has at­temp­ted to help every­one who came through our door. The ef­forts of my staff should be ap­plauded, for we helped more people col­lect­ively than four neigh­bor­ing North­east Phil­adelphia state rep­res­ent­at­ives com­bined, ac­cord­ing to stat­ist­ics provided to us by the House Caucus. While each is­sue is quite dif­fer­ent in nature, we found that more than 60 per­cent of the is­sues were re­lated to the City of Phil­adelphia, not to the Com­mon­wealth of Pennsylvania. Our suc­cesses ranged from sav­ing the privat­iz­a­tion of the Pennsylvania Lot­tery, neigh­bor­hood out­reach pro­grams, se­cur­ing fund­ing for SEPTA and our roads, and cre­at­ing a statewide pi­lot pro­gram to provide help for chil­dren and adults strug­gling with dys­lex­ia.

We ac­com­plished much in a re­l­at­ively short amount of time. Un­for­tu­nately, we were not suc­cess­ful in sav­ing the 169th dis­trict, and this year, as a res­ult of man­dat­ory re­dis­trict­ing, many of our homes will be loc­ated in dif­fer­ent dis­tricts, in­clud­ing my own. Some of you are cur­rently re­ceiv­ing mail from nu­mer­ous elec­ted of­fi­cials and op­pos­ing can­did­ates be­cause you will be choos­ing new dis­trict rep­res­ent­a­tion that will be­gin in Decem­ber 2014.

While the 169th dis­trict will be re­lo­cated to York County, I have been presen­ted with a unique op­por­tun­ity. The re­cent resig­na­tion of Phil­adelphia At-Large Coun­cil­man Bill Green (he was named chair­man of the School Re­form Com­mis­sion) has cre­ated a va­cancy on City Coun­cil. Nu­mer­ous lead­ers throughout the city have ap­proached me to gauge my in­terest in filling the po­s­i­tion be­cause they earn­estly be­lieved that I would be a great ad­di­tion to Coun­cil and a voice that they could de­pend on.

Through much dis­cus­sion with my fam­ily, friends, neigh­bors, staff and lead­ers throughout the city, I have de­cided not to seek the nom­in­a­tion for state rep­res­ent­at­ive of the 174th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict, where my house now resides after re­dis­trict­ing oc­curred. 

Phil­adelphia is my home. It’s where my heart resides. I can do the most good for the city I love by stay­ing right here. For all these reas­ons, I have ac­cep­ted the Demo­crat­ic City Com­mit­tee’s nom­in­a­tion to fill the va­cant seat and join Phil­adelphia City Coun­cil as an at-large mem­ber. 

I still have to win in a spe­cial elec­tion in May and I’ll need your sup­port once again. My ex­per­i­ence as your state rep­res­ent­at­ive has pre­pared me well for this chal­lenge. I will bring the same fight­ing spir­it, work eth­ic and res­ults-ori­ented drive to City Hall to im­prove the lives of all Phil­adelphi­ans. ••

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