For 27 years, Bob Nelson taught students at Russellville and Logan County high schools about social studies and government.

But now, as a recently retired teacher, Nelson (or "Coach Bob" as most of his former students know him) is hoping to put all those lessons into action as he has filed to run as a write-in candidate for state representative in the November general election.

"I never really thought about it that much, until I was asked if I would do it," Nelson said. "In teaching government for all those years, I always told my kids that one of the best things they can do is serve their community as an elected official -- and that's what I feel like I've been called on to do."

Nelson was asked not long after current state representative Jason Petrie helped push through a controversial bill that changed the retirement system for teachers and other government workers. The pension reform legislation was tacked on to Senate Bill 151 -- which was initially a bill about sewage -- by the House of Representatives on March 29. Later that same night, the wastewater-turned-pension bill was quickly passed through both the House and Senate with Petrie's help.

According to Nelson, many local educators felt betrayed by Petrie. In part because of his part in hastily passing the bill at the last minute without giving his constituents a chance to have their voices heard on the issue and also because they felt like he had told them that he would not vote for any such bill.

At the time of the vote, Petrie was unopposed for his seat in the November election. The filing deadline to appear on the ballot had passed and it looked like he would be able to retain his seat without being contested.

"I think if that vote had happened before the filing deadline -- things would be very different," Nelson said. "I think Petrie may have even faced a Republican challenger in the primary."

But with the filing deadline passed, a group of teachers knocked on the door of the classroom where Nelson was substitute teaching and asked him if he would run as a write-in candidate.

"A lot of people just want to have someone else they can vote for -- even if it means being a write-in candidate," Nelson said.

If Nelson has a chance at winning as a write-in candidate, he knows he is going to have to rely heavily on the skills he honed during nearly 30 years in the classroom.

"I am going to be educating the public on how they vote for write-in candidates," Nelson said. "It's not something voters normally do and a lot of people have never done that before."

Nelson said that in addition to saying "Write-in Bob Nelson" instead of "Vote for Bob Nelson" on his upcoming campaign signs, he will also have a tutorial on his campaign website,

The website will also have information about what issues -- other than education and the state pensions -- Nelson is passionate about.

"There's no party attached to running as a write-in candidate, but I'm a registered Democrat and I am being up front with everyone about that," Nelson said. "It's not just about education, though. I have some very strong views on jobs and the environment and a number of other issues as well."

Nelson said he is very much a moderate when it comes to his views.

"There are some areas where, even though I am a Democrat, I would vote along with Republicans because I share some of their same values," Nelson said.