Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro says tikkun olam guided him to run for Pennsylvania’s next attorney general.
Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro says he is ready to “clean up the mess” created by Attorney General Kathleen Kane. On Jan. 12, Shapiro, 42, a longtime member of Beth Sholom Congregation in Elkins Park and alumnus of Akiba Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr, announced he is running for Kane’s embattled office.
Kane has been embroiled in turmoil since being accused of leaking secret grand jury documents in 2014. She faces two counts of felony perjury and several lesser charges, including abuse of office and conspiracy.
“I think we need someone in the office of attorney general who can lead that office with integrity,” Shapiro said in an interview. “We need someone who has a record of fighting for all Pennsylvanians.”
A process that could ultimately remove Kane from office moved one step closer toward a full Senate vote on Jan. 12, with a committee hearing that drew former Gov. Ed Rendell to Harrisburg. Gov. Tom Wolf could also remove Kane from office after a two-thirds vote in favor of removal by the Senate.
“Pennsylvania’s next attorney general will face many specific challenges, but the most pressing challenge we face today in our justice system is a crisis of confidence, doubts about the administration of justice and the results that follow,” Shapiro stated in a press release. “From ‘Bonusgate’ to ‘Kids For Cash’ and now to ‘Porngate,’ we can’t help but feel frustrated with our democracy and its leaders.
“As attorney general, I’ll lead the effort to restore integrity to our government,” he continued. “I’ll do this by advocating for and adopting tough ethical standards and by looking out for those who often get hurt in the system that is rigged against them.”
Shapiro, an Abington native, had long envisioned being involved in the community, but never at this high of a level. He originally wanted to fulfill his — and every other Jewish mother’s — dream of becoming a doctor, but after his freshman year at the University of Rochester, plans changed. He got involved with student government and fell in love with politics.
“My parents have always been supportive of me,” he said. “They were thrilled to see me follow my true passion.”
Many other people impacted him, including Sharon Levin, head of school at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, who was a teacher there when he was a student.
“Everything we learned there centered around tikkun olam,” he said. “That is something that has guided me in this race for attorney general.”
Shapiro led a Democratic Party resurgence in Montgomery County in 2011, as Democrats won a majority on the County Commission for the first time in more than 140 years.
Kane is running for reelection and at least four other Democrats have indicated they plan to seek the party’s nomination. They include Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala; Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, former Allegheny County Councilman David Fawcett and former county and federal prosecutor Jack Stollsteimer. The only Republican in the race is Sen. John Rafferty of Montgomery County.
The Pennsylvania primary election date is Tuesday, April 26.
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0747