PoliSci student runs for office
A USU senior announced his candidacy for Utah House of Representatives District 1 on Wednesday.
Oakley Nelson, a 25-year-old political science student from Elwood, Utah who graduates this May, is running for retiring Rep. Ronda Menlove’s seat this year. Nelson is a Republican.
“I’ve always had a desire to be in public service,” Nelson said in a phone interview. “I don’t know if there’s any source of why I’m doing what I’m doing. It’s basically always been an inherent desire for me to be in a position where I can be in public service and render service.”
Nelson serves on the Elwood Town Council and is legislative chairman for the Box Elder County Republican Party for House District 1.
A former intern of Menlove herself during the 2013 legislative session, Nelson kept busy throughout his school career with another internship at the state attorney general’s office in the 2012 session and working for Gov. Gary Herbert that summer. He then oversaw Menlove’s re-election campaign later that fall.
Herbert responded to Nelson’s campaign announcement Wednesday.
“I am grateful for the service that Oakley Nelson rendered to the Governor’s Office,” Herbert said in a statement.
Nelson said he “dove into” learning about public service, because if students really understand what politics are and how they function, it pays off.
Twenty-five is the age minimum to run for the state house and senate. Nelson said he may be young, but that hasn’t stopped politicians in the past from doing a good job. He used Abraham Lincoln, who was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives at age 25, as an example.
Nelson said he plans to focus on three main issues: economic development and job growth, education and agriculture.
Andy Pierucci, a USU political science student who is working on Nelson’s campaign, said his candidate has experience fit for the Legislature and can represent the interests of his district and generation.
“Our generation will be dealing with the effects of legislation passed today in this era, and why shouldn’t there be voices for our generation making these decisions now?” he said.
Editor’s note: Andy Pierucci is a columnist for The Utah Statesman.
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