David R. Nelson (politician)

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David R. Nelson
Bristol County, Massachusetts Sheriff
In office
Preceded by Edward Dabrowski
Succeeded by Thomas Hodgson
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from the 12th Bristol District
In office
Preceded by Matthew Kuss
Succeeded by Joseph McIntyre
Personal details
Born (1942-05-22) May 22, 1942 (age 75)
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Saint Mary's College
Occupation Rare Book Dealer

David Robert Nelson is an American politician who served as a State Representative and Sheriff of Bristol County, Massachusetts.

Early life[edit]

Nelson was born on May 22, 1942 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He attended New Bedford public schools, Providence College, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, and Saint Mary's College. Prior to becoming sheriff, Nelson worked as a rare book dealer.[1]

Early political career[edit]

From 1970 to 1976, Nelson was a New Bedford City Councilor. He was elected council president in 1974. From 1977 to 1978 he was City Clerk.[1]

From 1979 to 1983, Nelson represented the 12th Bristol District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.[1]


In 1983, Nelson was appointed Bristol County Sheriff by Governor Michael Dukakis following the resignation of Edward Dabrowski. He was elected to finish Dabrowski's term in 1984 by winning a five-way Democratic primary. He was elected unopposed to a full term in 1986 and won the 1992 Democratic primary with 62% of the vote.[2] Nelson resigned in 1997 and was succeeded by his Assistant Deputy Superintendent Thomas Hodgson.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Public Officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 1981. 
  2. ^ "David R. Nelson (D)". Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  3. ^ Meyers, Jack (April 10, 1997). "Bristol County sheriff resigns after 14 years". The Boston Herald.