Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro will officially take over the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, a unit that’s seen turmoil over the last year as its former leader become a convicted felon.
Shapiro, a Democrat who has never before been a prosecutor, topped state Sen. John Rafferty, a former deputy attorney general. He’ll take over an office that’s been described as in ruin. Former attorney general Kathleen Kane was earlier this year found guilty of using her position to leak secret grand jury information in order to embarrass a political foe. Last month, she was sentenced to spend at least 10 months in jail.
Shapiro is something of a rising star in the Democratic party in Pennsylvania. He worked for a number of years on Capitol Hill as an aide and then, at age 30, won a seat as a state representative in 2004. He served as a member of the legislature until 2012 when he became a Montgomery County commissioner.
In March 2015, Gov. Tom Wolf named Shapiro the chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Shapiro is a member of the Pennsylvania bar and works with Stradley Ronon, a Philadelphia law firm.
Shapiro, who had the support of top Democrats like Hillary Clinton and President Obama, out-raised Rafferty by a four-to-one margin. Among his campaign’s top contributors is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who kicked in a quarter of a million dollars to support Shapiro, specifically his platform on guns.
His platform on guns includes measures like expanding the Gun Violence Task Force beyond Philadelphia, establishing new gun show procedures, increasing awareness of laws against straw purchases, expanding background checks to cover private sales of long guns and advocating for a lost/ stolen gun reporting requirement.
Shapiro will take over the office beginning in January.