Elections Government

Bucks County Solicitor To Step Down, Considering Run For Attorney General

Bucks County Solicitor Joe Khan will step down from his government post in spring and is considering a run for Pennsylvania attorney general, NewtownPANow.com has confirmed.

Joe Khan in a file photo.
Credit: Submitted

Bucks County Solicitor Joe Khan will step down from his government post in spring and is considering a run for Pennsylvania attorney general, NewtownPANow.com has confirmed.

Khan, a Democrat from Doylestown Borough, has served as the county government’s top lawyer since early 2020 after the new Democratic-majority on the Bucks County Board of Commissioners took office.

Campaign finance reports show Khan has raised $176,007 in December through a political action committee he established. As of end of the year, Khan’s committee has $175,044 available to spend.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in December that Khan was rumored to be considering a run for the top law enforcement job in the state. The election will be held in 2024.

On Wednesday morning, Khan announced his upcoming resignation from county government. It will be effective in April.

First Assistant County Solicitor Amy Fitzpatrick will fill Khan’s job after he leaves.

Khan said the new law department has been “more effective, more efficient, and more responsive” to the county and residents. He said the office has exceed goals and saved millions in taxpayer dollars.

Speaking at the public meeting, Khan thanked the three commissioners for entrusting him with being the county government’s top lawyer. He also thanked his staff and acknowledged their hard work.

Once Khan’s time in county government ends this spring, he intents to return to private practice while considering a run for attorney general.

Khan oversees the Bucks County Law Department and its $1.6 million budget. He led creation of the department when the county moved from a system of part-time attorneys and outside law firms and moved to creating a full-time office. The commissioners have said the move has saved taxpayers money.

Khan’s department employs 13 lawyers and paralegals. It serves as general counsel for the commissioners – two Democrats and one Republican – and represents all county departments. The law department does not represent row offices and the courts, which are separate branches of government. Khan also has administrative oversight over the Bucks County Department of Consumer Protection and Weights and Measures and the independent Bucks County Public Defender’s Office.

Khan has been a visible presence for the commissioners and has advised the governing body on the county’s allotment of the $45 million opioid settlement and the county’s fight over PFAS contamination.

The county’s outgoing solicitor went to Swarthmore College and the University of Chicago Law School, where he studied under then-Professor Barack Obama. Khan worked for Obama’s congressional campaign before being employed as a Philadelphia city prosecutor for six years and a federal prosecutor for a decade.

Bucks County Solicitor Joe Khan speaking in winter 2022.
Credit: County of Bucks

The Philadelphia-native ran for district attorney 2017, but he lost in the Democratic primary to Larry Krasnser. Khan came in a second place.

Khan was raised by his Pakistani Muslim father and Philadelphia Catholic mother. The attorney’s brother, Tarik, is a nurse practitioner who recently was elected as a Democrat to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives serving parts of Philadelphia.

Parent activists Megan Brock and Jamie Walker Cohen have criticized Khan and the commissioners over the county’s 2021 COVID-19 mitigation policies and the law department’s appeals of their Right To Known requests. The two have made it known at public meetings that they do not believe the county’s legal counsel should appeal their requests for public records.

Former Republican Commissioner Andy Warren, who is running for commissioner this year, criticized Khan last year for being a partisan and an “attack dog.” Warren was upset over comments Khan made about a lawsuit by a row officer and statements Khan made after a conservative group sued the county government.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for 12 years for both newspaper and online publications. Tom’s reporting has appeared locally, nationally, and internationally across several mediums. He is proud to report on news in the county where he lives and to have created a reliable publication that the community deserves.