Nash Launches Crusade for N. Philly’s 181st Dist.

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REV. LEWIS NASH has a track record in development in Lower North Philadelphia; and, as a Laborers’ Union member, he knows something about real-estate development.

BY TONY WEST
Rev. Lewis Nash, Sr., pastor of Faith & Deliverance Outreach Ministry in North Central Philadelphia, formally announced his candidacy for the 181st Legislative District seat in the Democratic spring primary.

That seat’s current occupant, State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, Jr., has made no public announcement of his intentions. But several sources have told the Public Record that Thomas is considering wrapping up his 30-year career in the State House. In that case, he may see how petition drives go in that district.

As a committeeman in the 47th Ward, Nash will presumably start his campaign with strong backing from that body. He has also served as block captain and majority inspector.

In 2015, Nash founded the Philadelphia Interfaith Coalition, which was an early endorser of then-Councilman Jim Kenney in his race for mayor. He also intended to run for City Council at Large, delivering 1,500 petition signatures, he said – but was 10 minutes late because he had been making funeral arrangements for his father, he said.

In 2012, Nash had contemplated a run to replace then-State Rep. Jewell Williams when that man became sheriff. But Williams’ 197th District was redistricted that year, pushing Nash’s residence out of the 197th and into the 181st.

Nash points to a busy life in other community organizations. He founded Mankind Against Poverty Holistic CDC in 2000. It is now a Registered Community Organization. Between the CDC and his ministry, Nash claimed to “feed 300 people a year on the third Saturday of each month, give out 200 toys at Christmas and 85 senior boxes a month.” He was active as a neighborhood drug warrior.

Nash’s CDC played a role in negotiations to build a new headquarters for the Philadelphia Housing Authority in Sharswood.

It cannot hurt Nash’s clout that he is a 30-year veteran of Laborers’ Local 332, whose own headquarters is nearby.

Nash is also the Philadelphia Interfaith Coalition’s co-founder & VP. This action group came into fruition when Kenney was elected.

If elected, Nash said he would “bridge the gap between [Temple] University and the community, between developers and the community.” He wants to promote “clean-and-safe” business corridors throughout the district.

He advocates equal funding for all schools and day-care centers across the state. He would like to see universal bilingual education from pre-school up.

Gun regulations are a particular concern for Nash. He would like to see some sort of merger between gun licenses, drivers’ licenses and auto license, so that police could easily determine if a driver had a legal right to carry arms. He would like to see the residences of persons with mental disorders on a database so that first responders would have advance indication if they were at risk when responding to that address.
Nash, 50, is married and the father of infant twins.

The 181st District includes the neighborhoods of North Central, Poplar, South Kensington and Francisville. It is made up of three social components: working-class Black and Latino rowhome dwellers, most of Temple campus’ surroundings, and gentrifying blocks above Spring Garden Street.

Malcolm Kenyatta, an activist with chops in Liberty City Democratic Club and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, who is related to Thomas, is also in this race.

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