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Attorney General Candidate Josh Shapiro 'Focused' On Office's Responsibilities

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro hopes to become Pennsylvania's next Attorney General.

Out of the growing number of candidates running for Pennsylvania Attorney General, Josh Shapiro believes he's the best at cleaning up messes. As chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Shapiro says his past reforms are proof that he’d succeed as the Commonwealth’s leading lawyer.

“I inherited a mess in Montgomery County,” Shapiro tells Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer. “We turned things around. I can do the same thing in the Attorney General’s Office.”

Improving efficiency and restoring integrity to the agency are among Shapiro’s expectations for the next attorney general. 

He says he believes the office should represent a legal voice for all Pennsylvanians, especially those burdened by situations out of their control. From underfunded schools, to families dealing with mental illness or addiction, to victims of gun violence, Shapiro says the system is “rigged for certain people.”

“There’s no one else in power with the ability to stand up for those people than the attorney general.”

Shapiro promises proactive decisions, thorough investigations and a thoughtful use of all resources available to the office. Had any of the Commonwealth’s recent corruption and scandal happened under his watch, he says he wouldn’t have thought twice about exposing those involved.

“The best way to reform a system is to shed some sunlight on it,” he notes.

Were he elected, Shapiro says he’ll change how the Commonwealth deals with drug addiction.  With the rising heroin epidemic, Shapiro drew on his experience working with Montgomery County law enforcement to create task forces aimed at treating drug addiction “as a disease, not as a crime.” He hopes to implement similar programs statewide.

“This is not an urban issue, not a suburban issue, not a rural issue, this is a Pennsylvania issue.”

Shapiro is one of five candidates running for the office, including current Attorney General Kathleen Kane.  When asked if he sees the position as a stepping stone to a higher office, Shapiro says he’s focusing on the race ahead of him first.

“I want to be attorney general and be attorney general.”

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer and host of our Good Question! series and podcast. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community. kblackley@wesa.fm
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