Anthony Hardy Williams never dreamed heâ€™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. Hone his skills at a Fortune 500 company, then, strike out on his own. He followed his plan, working as a corporate analyst, next as an executive for PepsiCo, and then launched his own vending company. Then his world exploded â€“ literally.
Thatâ€™s when he watched part of his childhood 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, not just in his corner of the world, but all across Pennsylvania. Fear rose. Opportunities waned. Something needed to be done. Someone had to address the issues hanging over kitchen tables and the boardroom tables alike. Someone had to have better ideas. At 31, he decided to try and tackle that challenge.
In joining the Pennsylvania Legislature â€“ first as state representative for the 191st District in 1988, then as state senator of the 8th District in 1998 â€“ he resolved to make the needs of his constituents known, and has, with solid results.
He sticks to a simple dictate: find the best ideas and implement them â€“ regardless if they originate with a fellow Democrat, a Republican or an Independent. Itâ€™s a commonsense, yet fearless approach to leadership that resists blind party allegiance or indebtedness to its patrons.Itâ€™s how he operates in the Pennsylvania State Senate, where he serves as Democratic Whip, State Government (Chair) and a member of the Education, Communications and Technology, Law and Justice, Rules and Executive Nominations, Policy and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees. His sense of advocacy compelled him to join the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, along with a number of community boards.
As senator for the 8th District, one of the stateâ€™s most populous, 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. That stems from the moral courage instilled in him by his father, the late Hardy Williams, the pioneering activist and former state senator, and his mother, Carole Williams-Green, a feisty and committed retired public school educator. And itâ€™s replenished by the inspiration he finds in his wife, Shari, and their two daughters, Asia and Autumn.