Nelson teams with high school civics class, other state reps to discuss prison oversight and the legislative process

CHELTENHAM, Dec. 22 — State Rep.-elect Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery, joined the 12th-grade Project-Based Learning class from Cheltenham School District this week to discuss prison oversight and the legislative process.

To enhance the learning opportunity, Nelson also welcomed two leaders from the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus to the virtual conversation: state Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, who was recently elected Democratic Leader, and state Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, who is Democratic chairman of the PA House Judiciary Committee.

Nelson, elected last month to become the next representative of the 154th Legislative District, has worked on enacting policy for the past decade as a member of the Cheltenham School Board and the Montgomery County Community College Board of Trustees, but said he recognizes that being similarly effective in Harrisburg will be a learning process. “So, I decided to share in the fun,” he said.

“My first bill, which I plan to introduce soon, will focus on reforming the prison oversight structure for Class 2-A counties like Montgomery and Delaware,” Nelson said. “Knowing that this will be an opportunity for me and my team to learn the ropes, I thought why not engage our students in this real-world learning process? That is exactly what the Project-Based Learning program is meant to do.”

Monday morning’s virtual event featured discussions about authoring legislation, working across party lines, student advocacy, recidivism-reduction programs, specifics about prison oversight reform and much more.

“This isn’t only about teaching the legislative process to students, but I knew that the conversation would be critically important for my legislative team as well,” Nelson said. “To have the students’ input, to hear their questions, to create a dialogue about how this whole process works was especially helpful for me, just weeks away from being officially sworn in for my first term as a state representative.”

Nelson said he plans to continue collaborating with the class throughout the introduction of this legislation and looks forward to working with students throughout the district on future legislation. It is his goal, he said, to ensure younger people are informed about the legislative processes.