Ed Neilson, of Millbrook, was sworn in last week as the newest member of City Council.
Neilson won a special election in May to replace fellow Democrat Bill Green, who resigned to become chairman of the School Reform Commission.
A former political director of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, Neilson went on to serve as deputy labor secretary under Gov. Ed Rendell. He then handled government relations and business development for a law firm.
In 2012, Neilson won a special election in the 169th Legislative District to replace Republican Dennis O’Brien, who resigned to join City Council.
Democrats nominated him for the Council special election because state redistricting would have forced him to battle fellow Democratic Rep. John Sabatina Jr. in what promised to be a bruising primary.
Neilson was sworn in to Council by Commons Pleas Court Judge Michael Fanning in Council chambers. He was surrounded by his wife, Doris, and sons.
“It has been an immense honor to serve the residents of the 169th Legislative District,” Neilson said. “As a born-and-raised Philadelphian, I have worked all of my life to make this great city an even better place to live. Today marks a homecoming in which I will continue my service on a more local and detailed level, and apply my experience and relationships in the General Assembly toward such important issues as education funding and improving the quality of life in all neighborhoods. I am so excited to begin serving all of the residents of Philadelphia.”
Council President Darrell Clarke said, “Councilman Neilson’s passion and advocacy for children with developmental challenges, quality education for all, and safe, quality neighborhoods will be a tremendous asset here. I am so pleased to welcome Councilman Neilson to City Hall, and I look forward to working with him to make every neighborhood in our city the best that it can be.”
Neilson thanked the residents of the 169th Legislative District for the opportunity to serve them.
“It has been an honor to serve in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and it truly has been an experience I will never forget,” he said. “I believe I served the people of Northeast Philadelphia with integrity and passion, and I am proud of my accomplishments, especially the creation of the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Pilot Program.”
Neilson said the other accomplishments he is most proud of are being involved in the passage of the bipartisan transportation funding plan, and standing up against the Republican majority by voting against budgets that he believes severely underfunded education.
“I have learned many lessons from my time in Harrisburg, and I would like to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for being willing to work with me,” he said. “I know issues can become contentious because there is so much passion on both sides, but I found that frank conversation and a willingness to compromise can produce results. I plan to bring that same philosophy with me to City Council.”
Neilson’s state legislative district office, located at 3294 Red Lion Road in Academy Plaza, will remain open Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., until the end of November. Constituents can contact the office at 215-281-3414.
Neilson’s Council office is located in Room 312 of City Hall. The phone number is 215-MU6-3420.
Neilson will be back on the ballot in May 2015, running in the primary for a full four-year Council term. ••