Mandeville, LA (BRPROUD) – State Rep. Richard Nelson (R- Mandeville) announced his candidacy for governor of Louisiana.

Nelson is an engineer, attorney and former diplomat who was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 2019. At 36, he is the youngest declared candidate currently in the race.

“Louisiana has everything going for it, but is held back by leaders who are stuck in the past,” Nelson said in his announcement video. “If Louisiana were just average in the country, we’d all live 4 years longer and get a 33% raise. That’s what bad government is costing us: four years of our lives and a third of our income.”

Nelson grew up in Mandeville, where he was an Eagle Scout and valedictorian of Mandeville High. He graduated in both Biological Engineering and Law at LSU. Nelson served for seven years in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State, living in Washington, D.C., Germany, and the Former Soviet Republic of Georgia.

Richard Nelson joins the race as the fourth republican to do so. He brings a more bipartisan approach to his legislation that he believes Louisiana needs.

In an ad that is catching attention, Richard Nelson states politicians are stuck in the past and leaving Louisiana at the bottom. The state representative has served in the legislature since 2019.

“I think spending more time there, I don’t know if that really helps me. If I wanted to be a career politician, I could run for reelection and not have a giant, complicated race and, you know, have a much more certain outcome,” Nelson said. “But I’m running for ideas, I’m running to make the changes. And to do that, you’ve got to make this leap.”

Nelson has gained attention in the legislature for previously trying to legalize recreational use of marijuana, tackling child literacy, and most recently working to do away with the state’s income tax.

“Ideas are what’s going to fix things. Solutions are what’s going to fix things, not political parties,” Nelson said.

He also comes into the race as Attorney General Jeff Landry is reportedly raising millions of dollars for his campaign nearly a year out from the election. Nelson said he is not discouraged by that and aims to set himself apart from those already in the race.

“I think that there’s a lot of things in this current cycle that will favor a younger candidate and especially the younger candidate that’s not divisive and is really focused on the solutions. So I think it’s an election, not an auction,” Nelson said.

In running for governor, he will forgo his ability to seek re-election to his current seat.

The primary election for the gubernatorial race is October 14th.