Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro says he is ready to “clean up the mess” created by Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
Shapiro, 42, a longtime member of Beth Sholom Congregation in the Philadelphia suburb of Elkins Park and alumnus of the former Akiba Hebrew Academy, now Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr on the other side of Montgomery County, announced last month his candidacy for attorney general. Just last week he scored endorsements from prominent Jewish Democrats in Pittsburgh, including state Rep. Dan Frankel of Squirrel Hill, City Councilman Dan Gilman and former Allegheny County Medical Examiner Cyril Wecht.
Kane has been embroiled in turmoil since she allegedly leaked 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. “We need someone who has a record of fighting for all Pennsylvanians.”
Kane recently survived a state Senate vote on removing her from office.
“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 news 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 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.”
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 re-election, 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 is Tuesday, April 26.
Jason Cohen writes for the Jewish Exponent. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.