A Pennsylvania lawmaker who harassed pro-life teen demonstrators outside an abortion clinic in 2019 and offered to pay $100 to anyone who identified them has announced he is now running for lieutenant governor.
Rep. Brian Sims, 42, announced he was joining the 2022 race for the position in a campaign video Monday.
Sims, who became Pennsylvania’s first openly gay member of the legislature back in 2012, said he will bring ‘bold, visionary leadership based on lived experiences and shared values’ to the role.
The Democrat sparked controversy back in 2019 when he filmed himself outside a Planned Parenthood clinic telling a group of teen protesters ‘there is nothing Christian about what you are doing’.
Rep. Brian Sims – the Pennsylvania lawmaker who harassed pro-life teen demonstrators outside an abortion clinic in 2019 and offered to pay $100 to anyone who identified them – has announced he is now running for lieutenant governor. Pictured his campaign launch video
In his campaign launch video Monday, Sims said he will ‘think every day about the values that my Army officer parents instilled in me.’
‘To take responsibility, to show empathy, to have courage and to be authentic. I want to put those values to the direct service of the commonwealth,’ he told the camera.
A montage of images and footage including an old family photo, Sims in a face mask, as well as anti-Trump and Black Lives Matter protests play across the screen as he says: ‘I have a lot of hope when I look at the people across the country that decided over these last number of years that they’d had enough.
‘That they looked at a lack of leadership and thought that they could do better, because oftentimes they’re right. We are the antidote to broken politics.’
He continued: ‘My time in the Pennsylvania legislature has taught me a lot about not only how Pennsylvania government works, but a lot about how it doesn’t.
‘It’s taught me a lot about how to work with people who don’t always agree with me. 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.’
Sims, who has made his name as an LGBTQ activist, concluded by saying it was time to have ‘adults in the room’.
His play for the lieutenant governor role comes as the current incumbent Lt. Governor John Fetterman announced his own run for Pat Toomey’s Senate seat when he retires next year.
Fetterman, also a Democrat, was elected in 2018 and took office in January 2019.
The race will take place in 2022 alongside the race for the role of governor as Tom Wolf has served two terms so cannot run again.
Sims was first elected in 2012 to serve the 182nd District which covers Rittenhouse, Fitler Square, Logan Square, the Gayborhood and parts of Washington Square West, Bella Vista, Hawthorne and East Passyunk.
The lawmaker faced a backlash in May 2019 when he posted a video on social media of himself approaching teen protesters outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Footage above
In the footage, Sims tells the camera there is a ‘bunch of pseudo-Christian protesters… shaming’ young girls at the abortion clinic. He calls on viewers to publicly identify the culprits in exchange for money
He was re-elected in November to his fifth term.
But the lawmaker faced a backlash in May 2019 when he posted a video on social media of himself approaching teen protesters outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
In the footage, Sims tells the camera there is a ‘bunch of pseudo-Christian protesters… shaming’ young girls at the abortion clinic.
He calls on viewers to publicly identify the culprits in exchange for money.
‘What we’ve got here is a bunch of protesters, a bunch of pseudo-Christian protesters, who’ve been out here shaming young girls for being here,’ Sims says as he walks across the road toward the clinic where one woman and three teens are walking away from the area.
‘So here’s the deal, I’ve got $100 for anyone who will identify any of these three.’
The group stops in front of the camera and the woman tells him: ‘So we’re actually here just praying for the babies.’
The lawmaker later apologized for the incident saying he will ‘do better for the women of Pennsylvania’
Sims continues: ‘I’m going to donate to Planned Parenthood. A bunch of white people standing in front of a Planned Parenthood shaming people.’
‘There is nothing Christian about what you’re doing… nothing Christian, or loving, or godly about what you’re doing,’ he tells the group.
Sims then heads over to a boy still standing outside the clinic and confronts him about why he is protesting.
‘So I’ve got $100 for anyone who will identify them… it would be easier if you just gave me your name and address,’ he tells him.
When the boy starts telling him his name, Sims asks him: ‘What makes you think it’s your job to tell women what’s right for their bodies?’
He then adds that ‘I’m not really asking as I don’t care’ before adding: ‘Shame on you.’
Sims tells the camera the clinic and women attending the clinic are ‘attacked daily’ by ‘pseudo-Christians’ and encourages viewers to donate money to Planned Parenthood.
On Twitter Sims urged his constituents to ‘push back against Planned Parenthood protesters’ who are ‘racist, classist, bigots’ and ‘Bible bullies’.
The father of two of the teens in the video blasted Sims’ run for lieutenant governor calling him a ‘disgrace’ and vowing to rally against him
Sims was Pennsylvania’s first openly gay member of the legislature back in 2012 and is an LGBTQ activist
The lawmaker later apologized for the incident saying his actions were ‘aggressive’ but slamming the ‘white privilege and racism’ of pro-life demonstrators who were descending on clinics in his district.
‘I wanted to send an apology. I recognize my behavior was aggressive and that I acted in an inappropriate way. For that, I am truly sorry,’ he said at the time.
‘I’m angry that pro-life protesters use white privilege and racism to attack people of color in my district and across the nation.
Current incumbent Lt. Governor John Fetterman (above) announced he will run for Pat Toomey’s Senate seat next year
‘I’m angry that despite abortion being legal everywhere, anti-choice zealots are causing panic, anger, confusion, and rage for so many women.’
Sims wrote in a tweet that he acknowledged that ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ and that he will ‘do better for the women of Pennsylvania.’
The father of two of the teens in the video blasted Sims’ run for lieutenant governor calling him a ‘disgrace’ and vowing to rally against him.
‘Brian Sims is a disgrace, and our commonwealth deserves better,’ Joe Garecht tweeted Monday.
‘Any governor candidate who allies with him should be prepared. We held a rally with 2000 people in Philly when Sims did this.
‘We will be just as vocal against your candidacy if you team up with Sims.’
Garecht and his wife Amy set up a GoFundMe after the 2019 incident raising more than $125,000 for pro-life non-profit Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia.
Last year, Sims was part of a group of Pennsylvania Democrats who accused Republican state lawmakers of a cover-up after a GOP House lawmaker tested positive for COVID-19.
Sims alleged in May that House Republican leadership knew Rep. Andrew Lewis had contracted the virus but kept it secret from Democrats despite having recent close contact with many of them.
He and other Democrats called for an investigation into the alleged cover-up but state Attorney General Josh Shapiro declined to pursue the matter.
, 2021-02-16 19:04:13