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Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims has represented Philadelphia's 182nd district in Harrisburg since 2012. Photo: NBC.
Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims has represented Philadelphia's 182nd district in Harrisburg since 2012. Photo: NBC.

Brian Sims announces 2022 bid for Lieutenant Governor after 10 years in the PA legislature

Sims’ announcement comes a week after Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman officially announced his 2022 run for U.S. Senate.

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In 2012, Pennsylvania Representative Brian Sims became one of the first openly-LGBTQ members of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives. 

History was made in 2011, during Sims’ campaign, when he defeated 28-year incumbent Babette Josephs in the Democratic primary before running unopposed in the general election to represent PA District 182, encompassing Center City Philadelphia and parts of South Philly.

On Dec. 1, 2012, Sims was joined by then-Republican lawmaker, Mike Fleck, who came out in a newspaper article on the same day that Sims’ duties began in Harrisburg. Both share the joint title of first openly-LGBTQ lawmakers in the history of the PA legislature.

Now, ten years later, Sims has put his name in the running to be Pennsylvania’s next Lieutenant Governor in 2022.

He announced his bid in a video posted to his personal Twitter account on Monday, Feb. 15.

“I think it’s time for me to take what I’ve learned in the House and to be able to bring that leadership to the direct service of the Governor,” said Sims in the video.

His announcement comes a week after current Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman announced his run for what will be an empty U.S. Senate seat in 2022, as Pat Toomey announced on Oct. 5, 2020 that he would not seek re-election.

In his decade in Harrisburg, Sims has been a vocal advocate for social justice and civil rights issues, leading him to a somewhat polarizing position in the legislature.

Three years ago, he faced censure from Republican colleagues after he filmed himself harassing teenage protestors of Planned Parenthood. He apologized privately for his actions.

Amid coronavirus, Sims brought to the forefront the issue of potential coronavirus infections in Harrisburg following confirmed cases in Republican members of the legislature.

He slammed GOP leadership in the state for its lax protocols regarding COVID-19 and the lack of communication with their Democratic counterparts on who was infected and who they came in contact with. 

"Every single day of this crisis this State Government Committee in Pennsylvania has met so that their members could line up one after one after one and explain that it was safe to go back to work," Sims said in a video he published at the time. "During that time period they were testing positive. They were notifying one another. And they didn’t notify us."

In running for Lieutenant Governor, Sims is entering what will be a crowded field in an important year for Pennsylvania politics.

Before Toomey’s announcement, 2022 was already going to bring a new Governor and Lieutenant Governor to the state.

However, the Pennsylvania Capital-Star pointed out that a potential amendment change that could go on the ballot in November 2021, would make runs for the latter position obsolete by 2022 (including Sims’).

The amendment would change how Lieutenant Governor’s are selected in the state. Rather than having voters elect both, the gubernatorial candidates would select them as running mates following their primary victories.

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