Local attorney Jason Kelso has announced that he will seek the Republican nomination for the 199th District seat in the state Legislature. The district covers Carlisle and most of northern Cumberland County.
Kelso held a brief kickoff event Friday outside the North Middleton Volunteer Fire Company to announce his candidacy for the statehouse seat, which is expected to be vacated by current state Rep. Stephen Bloom, as Bloom has announced a run for Congress.
Bloom is “a great advocate and leaves some large shoes to fill,” Kelso said.
In his remarks, Kelso described his platform as a “positive message of common sense,” featuring fiscally conservative policy points similar to those that Bloom has championed.
“Our general assembly has the biggest budget outside of California,” Kelso said, pledging not accept a state pension in order to help contain Pennsylvania’s excessive costs for legislators and their staff.
Kelso pledged to help control state spending and reform the state’s tax structure, as well as improve what Kelso described as an overly rigid regulatory environment that, in many cases, “makes absolutely no sense.”
Kelso, who will turn 38 this year, was raised in North Middleton and graduated from Carlisle High School in 1998. He received his bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College, a master’s from the College of William and Mary, and his law degree from University of Pittsburgh Law School.
He is general counsel for Reading Anthracite Co., one of the state’s largest coal-mining networks, and is also of counsel at Kelso Law LLC, the Carlisle firm run by Kelso’s wife and fellow attorney, Melissa.
Kelso also serves as an adjunct professor at Shippensburg University where he teaches business law courses. The Kelsos live in Middlesex Township and have a daughter.
The only other candidate to have declared interest in the 199th District seat is Barb Gleim. Also a Republican, Gleim is the former president of the Cumberland Valley School District board.
The 199th is one of two local statehouse districts that will be open in the 2018 election. Rep. Will Tallman has announced that he will not seek re-election in the 193rd District.