From the Trail

In Support of Public Education

 

We’re failing... I don’t want to admit it, but we’re failing.

Societies all over the world share a pretty clear vision of how life is supposed to progress. First we learn. Then we work. Then we rest. We are supposed to invest in our children so they can grow up happy and healthy, earn their keep, raise families, own  their own homes, and then as they look to the twilight of their days, they are able to reflect and pass along their hard-earned wisdom to the next generation. 

But what happens when we fail to adequately teach our young people?

We know the answer - we‘ve seen it. The child who falls through the cracks, the lost future, the untapped potential. Our democracy, our economy and the future of our community depends on a public school system where children can learn. It’s important to me, to you and to the future of Pennsylvania. 

However, when our public school system lacks a pipeline of young, trained educators, counselors, and nurses, we’re failing. When our school buildings are filled with mold and asbestos instead of technology and energy efficient fixtures, we’re failing. When our teachers spend their time proctoring high stakes tests and leading students through active shooter drills, we’re failing. When our students come to school hungry or homeless or struggling with trauma or presenting a need for specialized programming or even programming that they can relate to, and we do nothing only to watch them fall behind their peers, we’re failing. When funding our schools forces our seniors and businesses out of our community and invites private investors seeking a profit, we’re failing. 

My education platform includes four major focus areas: PreK-12, Career Tech & Higher Education, School Employees, and School Funding. 

 

PreK-12 Priorities

  • Advance universal access to quality Pre-K programs
  • Ensure school facilities meet the health and educational needs of students
  • Fund environmentally efficient building renovation
  • Promote learning spaces that are stimulative, engaging, and sensitive to student triggers
  • Make sure that all students have access to counseling, mental health, and nursing professionals
  • Ensure students with special needs are receiving the services they require
  • Fund remediation programming for students that fall behind
  • Require cyber, public, and other charter schools to be equally accountable and transparent 
  • Focus on the whole child rather than performance on high stakes testing
  • Declare equitable education as a right for all students
  • Ensure all students are safe from violence and sexual assault

 

Career, Technical and Higher Education Priorities

  • Ensure the cost of a degree does not exceed a student’s earning potential
  • Increase funding for vocational education and programming
  • Declare equitable education as a right for all students
  • Expand PA Loan Forgiveness programs for needed fields of study
  • Address the housing and food insecurities facing our students
  • Ensure all students are safe from violence and sexual assault

 

School Employee Priorities

  • Expand education certification requirements for all teachers in publicly funded schools
  • Promote adequate wages for full and part-time staff
  • Protect the rights of workers to unionize
  • Promote an accountability system that is both fair and rigorous
  • Ensure all staff are safe from violence and harassment
  • Build a pipeline of future teachers, counselors, mental health workers

 

School Funding Priorities

  • Reform our property tax system to provide significant relief to seniors and low-income residents
  • Close tax loopholes for businesses 
  • Provide adequate funding to schools based on their needs, not their existing share of a pie that is already too small
  • Provide funding for educational mandates to ensure legislative burdens are not passed along to local tax-payers

 

I want to go to Harrisburg to build a school system that our community needs. One that is equitable and accountable. When we get to Harrisburg, we will redefine what “fair and adequate” really means. It will be our children who will continue our efforts to reverse the damage we have done to our climate. It will be our children who will end hunger and homelessness. It will be our children who will end mass incarceration and institutionalized racism. It will be our children who will heal this world from corrupt dictators, fake news, and greedy corporations! 

While their time to lead is coming, I am so thankful that it is not here because we have not taught them what they will need to know... Yet.

Start with the End in Mind

On Monday, Dec 9th, we kicked off this campaign to elect Napoleon as the next State Representative serving District 154 (Cheltenham, Springfield, and Jenkintown). This campaign is 2 weeks old! In those two weeks, we’ve knocked on doors, met residents, held meetings with local and county officials, and met with business owners and community leaders. You have offered words of encouragement, feedback, challenging questions, and donationed your time and treasure. As I step back and enjoy the holiday with my family, I cannot express the gratitude I feel for all of you. 

 

We’re charging into the end of the year on a roll, but we’re going to need every bit of it to get where we’re going. Our goal is to get to Harrisburg! All we need to do to get there is work hard, knock on more doors, talk to our neighbors again, make the extra phone call, contribute $5 more dollars, and support each other through it all! 

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




P.S. If you made it all the way to the bottom, I invite you to come to one or more of the following meet and greets to learn more about me and this campaign. Refreshments will be served!

 

Dec 15th from 4-6pm at the home of Neil and Theresa DiFranco

14 Highland Avenue in Flourtown

 

Dec 17th from 6:30-8pm at the home of Sean and Danielle McCarthy

305 Rodman Avenue in Jenkintown

 

Dec 18th from 8:30-10am at the Wyncote Cafe in the Towers at Wyncote

8460 Limekiln Pike in Wyncote

 

Dec 20th from 9-11am at Cafe Clover

1333 W. Cheltenham Avenue, #103 in Elkins Park

 

Dec22nd from 1:30-3pm at the home of Jim and Lois Gaskins

8609 Trumbauer Drive in Wyndmoor

 

***FUNDRAISING EVENT***

Dec 28th from 6-8pm at FLOW Kitchen + Bath Design (*Fundraiser*)

127 S. Easton Road in Glenside

 

Jan 5th from 4:30-6pm at the home of Neil and Natalie Deegan

459 Harrison Avenue in Glenside

 

Jan 8th from 6-8pm at the home of Charles and Quenisha Williams

1457 Wistar Drive in Wyncote