State Rep. Craig Williams’ (R-Chester, Delaware) resume is the envy of any kid dreaming of becoming president. He was personally decorated 11 times, twice for valor in combat, in the Gulf War where he served as a Marine flight officer (think “Goose” in the movie “Top Gun,” he says) in the F/A-18D.
“With two sets of eyes we controlled the air, protected our aircraft and marked targets for our bombers,” he said.
He earned a law degree, with high honors, from the University of Florida, a masters from Columbia Law School, and has practiced law both on the military and civilian side: a prosecutor at Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps base in California; Deputy Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
After retiring with 28 years in the Marine Corps as a colonel, he prosecuted violent crimes for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Denver and in U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia where is wife, Jennifer, is now acting head of that office.
He challenged incumbent Democrat Joe Sestak in the seventh congressional seat in 2008 and lost in a year when Barack Obama won big.
He shifted his focus to energy law.
“I became the nation’s most informed energy candidate,” he said. “Obama’s answer to $4 a gallon gas prices was putting more air in your tires. We offered real solutions.”
Then in 2020 he ran for the State House in the 160th and won in a legislative district that Joe Biden won by 12 points -- with the help of his daughter, knocking on over 11,000 doors. During his campaign, and now as a lawmaker, he avoids “sensationalizing” issues.
“I strongly agree with Bryan Cutler (Speaker of the House) that good policy and strong leadership not rabid stances left or right win elections,” he said. “I put more emphasis on community and less on politics.”
His signature legislation, HB 1285, aims to fulfill the immense potential that lies beneath us in the Marcellus Shale, and further reduce emissions. The bill would bolster natural gas distribution network, making affordable energy available to unserved and undeserved communities, and invests in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure. More EVs translate to a need for power generated by clean burning natural gas. Thousands of new jobs would be created.
“All major American automakers have announced larger lines of EVs, including mass transit and privately-owned automobiles,” he wrote in the bill’s sponsorship memo. “As a result, consumer demand for EVs in Pennsylvania is on the rise and that will certainly continue. The main consumer deterrent to EV adoption is the worry that they will not have a charging station available when needed.”
“Additionally, our Commonwealth is blessed with an abundance of natural gas, which is currently priced at historic lows. Residential consumers in Pennsylvania deserve the opportunity to take advantage of that abundance and low pricing. But, again, there is an infrastructure issue standing in the way, as there are many unserved or underserved communities who cannot access natural gas for residential purposes due to inadequate distribution networks.”
A chance encounter on his son’s baseball trip to Florida where he helped save the life of a man dying from a drug overdose made him a dedicated advocate for the families of those with addictions.
“His wife told me that the family had been living with this for 25 years,” Williams said. “I learned all I could about what people go through, and the stress of it is on the level of being in combat.”
He’s also counts service to seniors as one of his highest priorities – his legislative district has more seniors than any other in the House.
He said that he was delighted to find smart people to work with in Harrisburg, and is equally delighted that the caucus rather than politicizing everything is engaging in debates about process. He cites Gov. Wolf’s one-size-fits-all mask policy for school districts.
“Not all counties in the state are the same,” he said. “These kinds of decisions should be left to local leaders. I really like the response we have to it.”
On September 15, the House Health Committee voted to adopt a letter requesting a determination from the Commonwealth Joint Committee on Documents on whether the regulatory process and the Regulatory Review Act applies to the acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s indoor mask mandate for K-12 schools and childcare centers.
He’s met smart people on the other side of the aisle as well.
“I tell people all the time not to believe social media that we can’t get along with one another,” he said. “I’ve developed great relationships on both sides of the aisle.”
He serves on the Philadelphia board of the American Cancer Society, is a dedicated fundraiser for Real Men Wear Pink campaign to fight breast cancer, is a coach for Brandywine Youth Club football and baseball, and works with the Boy Scouts of America. He volunteers his legal services for Wills for Heroes and the Homeless Advocacy Project.
He lives in Concord Township with Jennifer and their four children.