Tony Williams—A Pro-School Choice, Pro-Business Democrat Who Just Might Be The Next Governor of Pennsylvania


"You either pay the $16,500 now for our children's public education or you pay the $35,000 or $40,000 later for public assistance, sitting on grandma's couch or in prison," says Anthony H. Williams.

Williams is a long-time Philadelphia-area state senator who is running for the Democratic Party gubernatorial nomination in the Keystone State. Williams is also an ardent supporter of school choice and pro-business in a way that few Democrats (or even Republicans, for that matter) seem to be these days.

A vocal supporter of public funding for the arts, Williams is no doctrinaire libertarian, but he remains an all-too-rare figure in contemporary politics: an individual not completely defined by his party affiliation.

Approximately 10 minutes long. Interview by Nick Gillespie; camera and editing by Dan Hayes.

Go here for downloadable versions and go to's YouTube channel for embed code.

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  1. Pro business?
    School Choice?
    Low taxes?

    In what ways is he a democrat then?

  2. In what ways is he a democrat then?

    He won’t actually vote for those things.

  3. “””You either pay the $16,500 now for our children’s public education or you pay the $35,000 or $40,000 later for public assistance, sitting on grandma’s couch or in prison,” says Anthony H. Williams.””

    I think that’s true. It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on schools, it will not affect the mentality of those who feel no remorse when engaging in criminal activity.

    1. I meant to say I don’t think that’s true.

      1. I don’t think what you think is true is true. Someone who has a good education is less likely to become a criminal. The tragedy is that so few are receiving a good education from our screwed up educational system.

        1. However, I agree that more money will not solve the problem.

        2. I don’t think what you think is true is true. Someone who has a good education is less likely to become a criminal. The tragedy is that so few are receiving a good education from our screwed up educational system.

          So Bernie Madoff and Kenneth Lay were uneducated?

        3. The tragedy is that so few are receiving a good education from our screwed up educational system.

          [Citation Needed]

          America still has the best schools. These universities are not completely filled with foreigners (yet). So, the educational system which prepped these students to attend the best universities appears to be working just fine.


    2. You are exactly right. They could spend 40K a year on schooling now and still not improve a damn thing. You can not just spend money at schools and expect people with no solid upbringing to be pillars of society. Think of the mindset you are trying to get past, mere education to a group of people that have zero value for education is not going to change anything.

      Sounds like a liberal to me. Throw money at a problem claiming it will prevent a future problem. Wasn’t welfare instituted under the guise that it would raise poor people out of poverty? How many trillions spent later and what do we have more poor than before they were going to do away with it.

      And don’t tell me we need some fucking midnight basketball league either for the kids. If they are shooting ball at midnight I doubt they give a shit how much is being spent to educate them.

      1. So we’re doomed to live the life our parents consign to us? Sounds like a conservative to me.

        1. I never said we are doomed to a life our parents consign us to. First off you are implying that these kids have parents (plural meaning more than one) when 70% of black society does not and almost 40-50% of whites do not any longer. Odds are a lot better that a kid raised by someone that cares about them will do better in life than someone that only had the kid to collect extra welfare money and could care less about that kids future. They will leave that up to the rest of us to worry about and pay for, which is fitting of their mentality since they allowed the rest of us to pay for them all their lives as well.

      2. great language in your comment. You should start posting in the Daily Kos, your use of foul language would match many there.

        1. Thanks FUCKER!

    3. You either pay the $16,500 now for our children’s public education or you pay the $35,000 or $40,000 later for public assistance, sitting on grandma’s couch or in prison

      You can do both — be forced to pay to educate other people’s kids and then be forced to pay for their welfare or prison cell later when that public education doesn’t result in model citizenry.

      1. I vote for neither. Pay for your own damn education, and if you can’t get a job, tough shit.

  4. The thing is, Tony, residents of PA are already paying that $16,500 and still getting to pay the $35-40k later on, too. Shouldn’t you be getting rid of the latter, legislatively, if you’ve already got the former?

  5. Jeffersonian nailed it. The problem is very simple. The government has created a seperate option for generations now that is considered a sacred right, the right to collect insurance and have 10 kids with 10 women while other pay for them their whole lives.

    Take away the 2nd option of welfare and assistance. We are offering you education up front, should you fail to take that and not be able to support yourself oh fucking well that is all we offer. Commit a crime and we will jail you but not in AC rooms with cable tv and recreation yards but farms where if you want to eat you better get to plowing.

    When the consequence of not doing the right thing is basically a reward what incentive is there to do the right thing? Kind of like adult education and paying for people to go back to high school level education. We already payed once to try and educate these people but they decided they had better things to do at the time. So why now should we have to pay AGAIN for the same dumbass to finally get some education. Shit gets really expensive when you pay for things TWICE!

    1. Edit: I meant a right to WELFARE not insurance.

      1. two things. One a LOT of those people are locked up for stuff that shouldn’t even be a crime. IE, drugs, gambeling, prositution etc. Of the rest, a percentage is probably innocent as well.

        Thus it reminds us that people are sent to prison “as” punsishment, not “for” punishment.

        Anyone that thinks being in prison is cushy probably hasn’t spent much time in one.

        1. I was implying real crime you know the kind with victims not the BS crimes they lock you up for now. And yes for someone that molests kids, rapes or murders people jail is far too cushy IMO.

  6. How much money do people want to bet that if he is elected, he won’t lower taxes?

    1. yeah.. we are basing this hero song on his record.. not.. campaign promises..

  7. meant to add a “surely” in there, to sound sarcastic

  8. It’s amazing the Democrat Machine is allowing this guy to run for office.

    1. most, if not all, democratic candidates are running on the same platform. its the only way they’ll have a chance of winning in November.

    2. most, if not all, democratic candidates are running on the same platform. its the only way they’ll have a chance of winning in November.

    3. I don’t understand it either. “Cheesesteak Eddie” Rendell has had a few good, albeit patronizing, things to say about Williams. However, “America’s Mayor (remember THAT honorific?)” probably feels that Williams is safely behind my state’s conventonal party hacks and therefore no real threat.

      1. That’s kind of the impression I got too. Onorato and Williams came out with their first ads at the same time, which is crucial in a race where none of the candidates have significant name recognition. This allowed Onorato to paint Williams as the opponent, and Pennsylvanians bought it…making the other two Dem candidates seem like alsorans from the outset. I’m honestly wondering if Ed’s people got Williams to run just to give Onorato someone to beat up on early. (Hoeffel successfully came back with ads beating up on both of them…except for the whole “I don’t support private schools” thing.)

        Williams will never get any party support, particularly this cycle. The teacher’s union (most powerful union in PA) will line up behind Corbett if Williams is the nominee. No way the Democrat can win then.

  9. I got to admit he impressed me.

    Seems like the kind of person who would actually discuss, consider and vote for options that aren’t “Party Line”.

    Hopefully, his priorities are real results because Pennsylvania could use him.

    1. Ummm … wait until he gets elected and then has to choose between keeping his campaign promises or doing what he has to do to get re-elected.

      I’m going with the latter for any politician, R or D, absent a track record of doing the former.

      1. And ensuring that the union kickbacks keep on rolling.

  10. How about equal time for Sam Rohrer – who is a republican for School choice, eliminating property taxes, opposed to Real ID, fiscal responsibility, and somewhat better on the issue of natural gas exploration and exploitation. Probably too conservative socially for you guys, though. Reason seems to have this “ooh icky” reaction to social conservatives that are otherwise very libertarian in their views.

  11. fuck Williams, he is anti-gun, anti-2nd amendment, and against medical marijuana. Sam Rohrer is way more libertarian, pro-school choice, and pro-business than this douche bag.

    1. I think the point of this post was his positions are unusual for a Democrat. I haven’t investigated the guy thoroughly since I’m registered as GOP and can’t vote in his primary, so all I know is from his ubiquitous commercials, but that’s the impression I got from his ads too.

      1. I suspect they are fake, must like the bluedogs in congress the positions are just there to keep the democratic power base in in power.

    2. and I can’t fucking stand another “outside the box” commercial of his with people throwing a fucking box around.
      I’ve talked to Rohrer and firmly believe he would sign medical marijuana into law as governor, something none of the other republican and democratic candidates would do. he also would work to keep nonviolent drug users out of jails. in our state house of representatives he has helped to kill Real ID in PA, successfully opposed a PA gun registry, introduced 10th amendment sovereignty legislation, and the PA Firearms Freedom Act. he has been endorsed by Gun Owners of America and the Republican Liberty Caucus.
      I plan on voting for Rorher for governor and the very libertarian Diamond for lt. governor tomorrow, I hope others do as well.

      1. and what bothers me is that Rohrer isn’t getting any attention by the media whatsoever.
        and on the democratic primary, it looks like Onorato is poised to win the nomination tomorrow.

        1. Good – I live in Pittsburgh. Onorato is a loser. If he gets the nod for the job, the Dems will lose the election.

          1. yeah thats what I’ve heard. even Rendell has said that he endorses Onorato but thinks he will lose to Corbett in November.

  12. I’m not sold on this guy. He wants to repeal the PA law that forbids localities from passing stronger gun control laws than the state has (and PA gun control is relatively lax).

    Also, he has two separate commercials where the theme is “thinking outside the box” (and even throws a box into the trash at the end of one as if to exorcise it from his mind). Newsflash: 1992 is over, dude.

  13. Then there was the Arlen Specter ad on the radio yesterday, where Joe Biden gives a testimonial about how Specter has more integrity in his pinky than most people have in their entire body, is fiscally conservative yet supported by unions, and finally that the people of PA can’t afford to lose his influence in Congress.

    Yeah, Joe. Next you’ll be telling me the Lakeshore Limited is the most pleasant way to get from New York to Chicago.

    1. He is asking Pennsylvania’s Democrats to throw one of their own under the bus in favor of someone who voted to support President Bush over half the time, and only became a Democrat because he burned his bridges with the Republicans?

      1. The essentially unopposed Republican candidate, Pat Toomey, would mop the floor with Joe Sestak (Specter’s primary opponent) in the general election.

        The polls don’t look so great for Specter vs. Toomey either, but Specter has a much bigger war chest, name recognition, and connections to pull off a comeback in the general.

        1. Specter will pull a Lieberman and run as an independent if he doesn’t win tomorrow. he won’t give up power that easily.

          1. If I’m not mistaken, that’s not allowed under PA election law.

            1. I’m pretty sure he can change his registration on Wednesday and he has till August to file nomination papers.

              1. Specter Not Ruling Out Running As An Independent In 2010:…..t_22078959

                1. That article is from March 2009, before he switched parties. At that point, he could have run as an independent. PA has sore loser laws on the books. If you want to run as an independent, you need to register before the primaries.

  14. “Pennslyvania”? That’s funny!

    Sly Stallone for Governor!

  15. Define school choice. Vouchers to charters schools are just another ruse for government control. Many charter schools are run by the same school districts that so many deride. Please, don’t be fooled by this pseudo choice.

  16. Pennsylvania has a sore-loser law that prevents Specter from running as an independent in the general election if he loses in the party primary.In short: For Specter to run as an independent would have required him to jump ship before the petition filing deadline.

    1. nomination petitions are only for republicans and democrats. an independent or 3rd part needs to circulate nomination papers. August 2nd is the filing deadline for nomination papers. I’ve never heard of the sore loser law here in PA.

      1. *3rd party

  17. Not ALL Democrats are tax and spend liberals. Our governor, Phil Bredesen, is a Democrat and is undoubtedly the best governor we have had since Lamar Alexander, and arguably the best since Winfield Dunn.

    I disagree with Gov. Bredesen on some issues, but he has been an able, effective governor for the past 8 years and we are going to miss him come November.

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