Incumbent state Rep. Craig Williams (R-Chadds Ford) has made fighting crime and supporting veterans the centerpiece of his reelection bid. A former prosecutor and Marine veteran, Williams is being challenged by Democrat Cathy Spahr, a senior planner and infrastructure investment and Jobs Act lead for Delaware County.
Williams serves on the Veteran Affairs and Emergency Preparedness, Aging and Older Adult Services, and Human Services Committees. He is the founding co-chair of the House Cybersecurity Caucus, dedicated to helping both state government and the state’s private sector fend off the threats of hacking and ransomware.
Williams co-sponsored bills that would give the Pennsylvania National Guard the authority to provide functional support for cybersecurity needs across the state, both for state agencies and non-government groups who need help as well.
“As cybercrime continues growing, it’s critical that we find a proactive way to fight these criminals. The legislation taps into a resource right here in the Commonwealth: the Pennsylvania National Guard,” Williams said.
Williams also secured funding to hire more prosecutors for firearms offenders in Philadelphia and Delaware County and introduced legislation to include human traffickers on the state’s Sex Offender Registry.
Spahr declined to respond to repeated requests for comment. Her campaign website can be found here.
Asked whether he supports the effort to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner over his performance as prosecutor, Williams said he will reserve judgment until the Select Committee chaired by Rep. John Lawrence (R-West Grove) submits its report.
“It’s an investigatory committee and its role is to bring together the facts and make recommendations to the House for further action. And given my prosecutorial background, I’m going to wait to see what information the committee unearths,” he said.
“What I want to know are the reasons for the inability or lack of willingness to prosecute. What are the decisions that are being made inside the district attorney’s office? Why are people leaving the office? Why in particular, with prior felons in possession of guns, why are those conviction rates going down? Why are those prosecutions going down? And I’m hopeful the Select Committee will provide us with some answers,” Williams said.
Krasner has filed suit to block the committee’s subpoenas.
Williams told DVJournal he works hard and focuses on serving people.
“There is too much anger and hard feelings in politics today. I am running a campaign using decency in leadership, treating people well, and knowing how to lead.”
If re-elected Williams, a Concord Township resident, wants to focus on getting the economy back on track by creating a business-friendly environment in the state that “gets us on top of inflation and gets people back to work.” Pennsylvania also needs to take care of its own energy needs, he said.
“Number two for me, is meeting violent crime head-on with more prosecution,” said Williams. “So if my gun violence task force (bill) that’s sitting in the Senate doesn’t advance this year, I’m going to reintroduce it next year and work aggressively to get (it) established in Philadelphia. (This would) give prosecutorial decision-making to the feds, the attorney general, and the district attorney. So it requires all three branches to work together on every single gun arrest in Philadelphia and decide who’s going to prosecute it.
“And then, last but not least, I want to continue my work in human services, particularly around addiction and at-risk youth,” said Williams. “I’m going to be working very hard to get the Glen Mills School reopened (now called Clock Tower School) and get them out of the corrections model and into a trauma-informed therapy model.”
Williams is married to lawyer Jennifer Arbittier Williams and is the father of four children.