Barely three weeks after Jack Stollsteimer was reelected as Delaware County District Attorney, the Democrat filed paperwork to run for state attorney general. He plans to formally announce at a Chester union hall on Tuesday.
Stollsteimer, 60, was first elected district attorney in 2019 in a contest against former Delaware County DA Kat Copeland. Copeland, a Republican, announced her bid for attorney general last week.
Stollsteimer laid the groundwork for his AG run, even as he campaigned for a second term as Delco DA.
In an internet campaign video titled “You Don’t Know Jack,” a labor leader touts Stollsteimer’s prosecution of construction companies that withheld workers’ wages, “No one ever seemed to give a damn.”
Stollsteimer says, “I gave a damn because an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay should mean something.”
“As AG, I’ll keep our communities safer, our criminal justice system fairer, and I’ll always protect abortion rights,” he said.
The crowded attorney general so far includes four other Democrats: former Auditor General Eugene DePasquale; Joe Khan, the former Bucks County solicitor; Kier Bradford-Grey, a former public defender; and state Rep. Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia).
In addition to Copeland on the Republican side, primary voters will decide whether to nominate York County District Attorney Dave Sunday and state Rep. Craig Williams (R-Chester/Delaware).
Stollsteimer’s campaign listed his accomplishments as district attorney, including forming the Chester Partnership for Safe Neighborhoods. Three years in, it has helped reduce the gun violence homicide rate in the City of Chester by nearly 70 percent, Stollsteimer says.
He also pushed to put the for-profit Delaware County jail under government management and created diversionary programs for low-level offenders, reducing the number of inmates by 30 percent.
Stollsteimer touts the creation of an environmental crimes unit, and he sued opioid distributors to win millions to help those with substance abuse addiction.
Additionally, he claims to have “decriminalized” possession of small amounts of marijuana, but critics like state Rep. Craig Williams (R-Chadd’s Ford) point out prosecutors don’t have the power to do that under laws passed by the legislature. “He can’t ‘decriminalize’ anything,'” said Williams, who is also launching his bid for attorney general on Tuesday.
Stollsteimer worked his way through college and law school. His dad was a SEPTA driver, and his mother was born in Soviet-held Ukraine. His maternal grandparents were Ukrainians who were captured by the Germans during World War II and forced into slave labor camps. After the war, they immigrated to the U.S.
Stollsteimer was hired as an assistant district attorney in 2000 before becoming a policy analyst and special assistant U.S. attorney for the Project Safe Neighborhoods gun violence initiative in 2001. In 2004, he was appointed assistant U.S. attorney and assigned to lead a gun violence task force.
In 2006, Gov. Ed Rendell appointed Stollsteimer as the state’s safe schools advocate for the Philadelphia School District. In that position, he publicly reported the school district’s failure to properly report violent crimes. He was appointed deputy state treasurer for consumer programs in 2017.