Anthony Hardy Williams never dreamed he’d hold elective office growing up. After graduating from Franklin & Marshall College, he planned to use his economics degree to take over the business world. He worked as a corporate analyst, next as an executive for PepsiCo, and then launched his own vending company. Then, his world exploded – literally.
That’s when he watched part of his neighborhood engulfed in flames during the 1985 MOVE standoff in Philadelphia. He saw hopelessness creeping into formerly vibrant communities. He watched companies closing and jobs leaving across Pennsylvania. Fear rose. Opportunities waned. Something needed to be done. Someone had to address the issues hanging over kitchen tables and boardroom tables alike. Someone had to have better ideas. At 31, he decided to try and tackle that challenge.
Since joining the Pennsylvania Legislature – first as state representative of the 191st District in 1988, then as state senator of the 8th District in 1998 – he resolved to make the needs of his constituents known, and has, with solid results.
He created the Philadelphia Illegal Gun Task Force, an invaluable law enforcement tool for curbing violence. He developed the Diversity Apprenticeships Program, providing access to the labor trades for thousands of young men and women. He authored legislation which is now law to protect students in school from sexual predators, and he’s still crafting meaningful legislation that champions real world solutions.
In the Pennsylvania Senate, he serves as Democratic Whip, and a member of the Education, Environmental Resources & Energy, Intergovernmental Operations, Law and Justice, Policy and State Government committees. His sense of advocacy compelled him to join the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, along with several community boards.
As senator for the 8th District, he connects with and offers solutions for citizens in small towns, suburban enclaves, and urban centers, serving people of all economic, ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds with sensibility and compassion.