Heather Adams and Hobie Crystle

Heather Adams, left, and Hobie Crystle

The next district attorney will make history in Lancaster County.

If voters elect Republican Heather Adams on Tuesday, she will become the first woman to serve as the county’s top prosecutor. Given the Republican Party’s nearly 61,000 voter majority here, she has the clear advantage.

If voters elect Democrat Hobie Crystle, he will be the first member of the minority party here to serve in the office.

Adams, 47, and Crystle, 56, both are criminal defense attorneys.  

Either would be the first elected district attorney from outside the office in over 80 years.

But the similarities end there.

Adams, of Lititz, is cut from the law-and-order mold. She worked in the state attorney general’s office for more than 10 years  prosecuting drug crimes — most of it under Republican Tom Corbett, who later became governor.  All of the county’s district attorneys, including the outgoing Craig Stedman, were prosecutors.

She has said she wants to find a stable source of funding for the drug task force to replace the use of cash and property seized during raids, create a more formal training process for prosecutors and launch a school safety program.

Crystle is endorsed by a progressive group that in 2017 backed Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, a reform-minded prosecutor who has drawn national attention for encouraging shorter sentences in plea deals to reduce the prison population.

Crystle has emphasized treatment instead of just punishment and called for an end to cash bail for behavior that doesn’t threaten public safety. He’s been endorsed by a political action committee that seeks to elect “reform-minded prosecutors ... who are committed to using the powers of their office to fight structural racism and defend our communities from abuse by state power.”

The position of district attorney pays $179,299 annually. 

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