In 2008, at the age of 35, Jason ran for Orleans Parish District Attorney. He was the youngest candidate and unlike other in the race, he had never worked for New Orleans’ longtime District Attorney, Harry Connick. Jason Williams knew then that New Orleans needed a break with the oppressive practices of a bygone era. Although a political newcomer, his popularity quickly grew in communities tired of the same-old criminal justice system failing a city still recovering from the catastrophic devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Jason was a popular candidate in the small-but-growing progressive circles in the city, but he lacked the fundraising capabilities of the other two candidates, Ralph Capitelli and Leon Cannizzaro. New Orleans was not ready for Jason’s progressive ‘smart on crime’ platform and voted for Leon Cannizzaro and his ‘tough on crime’ agenda. But Jason’s 2008 run for District Attorney was not for political gain, it was because for 15 years he has sincerely believed that we need to transform New Orleans’ criminal legal system into an instrument of progress, not an instrument of oppression.