The Republican field for state Attorney General just doubled as Katyoun “Kat” Copeland announced her candidacy for the position on Monday.
The 56-year-old resident of Radnor made her announcement on the steps of the Delaware County Courthouse where she began her three-decade-long prosecutorial career.
“As Attorney General I am going to put my experience to work every day to protect Pennsylvanians and their families,” said Copeland. “I’m going to prioritize and provide safety and security to our families in our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools. I’m going to aggressively investigate and prosecute anyone who tries to sell drugs in our state – there will be zero tolerance for those who peddle deadly heroin and fentanyl into our communities,” declared Copeland.
Copeland is the second Republican to enter the 2024 race for attorney general, a prominent position that has been used as a springboard to the governor’s office. She will face York County District Attorney Dave Sunday in the Republican primary, while State Rep. Craig Williams also plans to run.
Four Democrats — former Bucks County Solicitor Joe Khan, former Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, former Philadelphia top public defender Keir Bradford-Grey and state Rep. Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) — have also entered the race. Democrat Jack Stollsteimer, the current Delaware County District Attorney who defeated Copeland in 2019, is also expected to run.
Copeland outlined a set of areas on which she will concentrate.
- Protecting and defending the United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions
- Protecting senior citizens from physical and financial abuse
- Child sexual exploitation, child abuse, and child predators and pornographers
- Human trafficking
- Drugs traffickers, including a zero tolerance for traffickers of fatal drugs like heroin,
fentanyl and xylazine
- National security and terrorism
- Prosecuting gun crimes and gun trafficking
- Insurance and health care fraud
- Protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices
“As the daughter of a 92-year-old mother, I know the dangers that our senior citizens face – from physical abuse and neglect to elaborate scams performed by con artists and international crime rings,” Copeland said in a press release. “I’m going to investigate and prosecute anyone who preys upon our seniors. I will protect children and families from child predators, pornographers and those who use the Internet as a weapon against our children. And unlike previous Attorneys General, I will stand up to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and prosecute anyone who commits a gun crime or traffics guns in Philadelphia.”
Copeland began as an assistant district attorney in the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office in 1992, and held a variety of roles leading different units.
In 2011, Copeland began working as an assistant district attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where she prosecuted high-profile drug cases. She became chief of the criminal division in 2020 and most recently served in the national security and cyber crimes unit.
Seven years later, she was appointed District Attorney of Delaware County and established relationships with law enforcement and community leaders. Copeland rejoined the United States Attorney’s Office as the Chief of the Criminal Division for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania where she led a department of 300 staff, including over 100 prosecutors responsible for the safety and well-being of over five million Pennsylvanians in a nine-county region.
“The Office of Attorney General is a powerful and important office,” stated Copeland. “I have a plan to move the office forward, defend the Constitution and protect Pennsylvania families.”
She graduated from Bryn Mawr College and received her J.D. from Temple University.
Copeland says her life has been influenced by time spent overseas in Iran from 1973-80. Her father, an employee of Westinghouse who was married to an Iranian woman, was arrested and became the first American put on trial in Iran’s Revolutionary Court. Copeland returned to Pennsylvania, while her mother returned to Iran to defend her father. Her time in Iran and the challenges her family faced, led Copeland on her career path as a prosecutor to make sure that those who are prosecuted are justly prosecuted and have a fair trial.
“That period in my life shaped my appreciation for the rights and the freedoms that we hold dear in our country,” she said.