District attorney announces re-election bid

January 25, 2019

Somerset County District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser said she plans to seek a third term in office.

“I think that I need another four years to leave the office in a position where I think I have implemented positive policies and procedures, and the next four years will give me the opportunity to complete those goals,” she said.

Lazzari-Strasiser, a 53-year-old Democrat from Hooversville, said that changes planned for 2019 include a transition to a full-time assistant district attorney staff. She said that in March part-time ADAs Carolann Young and Tara Yutzy Collier will be leaving the office, and a full-time ADA will be hired. Hannah Myers serves as a full-time assistant district attorney currently. Young has been with the office for several decades.

“(She) has been a great asset with regard to her experience and her commitment to the office,” she said. “I thank her for her service.”

She also thanked Collier for her service. She has accepted longtime chief detective Jason Hunter’s resignation, effective today, and will be hiring another detective.

“He has made the decision that going back to full-time patrol with Conemaugh Township is in his best interest,” she said.

Another recent change to the office is the utilization of a new operating system.

“It will make the office more efficient, and statistics will be easier to compile for applying for grants and obtaining other resources,” she said.

She is also proud of the work she has done with President Judge D. Gregory Geary to streamline the call of the criminal trial list.

“Our aged cases are closing out, bringing the victims closure and making them whole more quickly,” she said.

Lazzari-Strasiser focused on criminal law for 18 years as a public defender before running for district attorney in 2011. She said she could not do the job of district attorney without that experience. She said she wants to continue to give back.

“I feel like I am serving the county every day,” she said. “I say to myself, ‘Make the right decision for the right reason for the right time.’ Everyone is not always with those decisions. I think with transparency and communication with victims, law enforcement and the defense bar, we are achieving justice.”

She said that once her full-time staff is in place, she has additional goals, including a social media presence that will bring more transparency to the office.

Lazzari-Strasiser and her husband have three sons. She is the first person to announce for the office.