Image by/from Photo cropped from original work by Governor Tom Wolf’s Campaign, taken from the album “2019 Inauguration of Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.”
Joshua David Shapiro (born June 20, 1973) is an American politician and lawyer currently serving as the Attorney General of Pennsylvania. He previously served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and as chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
Shapiro was born on June 20, 1973, in Kansas City, Missouri and was raised in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He attended the University of Rochester, and in 1992 he became the first freshman to win election as the student body president of the University of Rochester. He graduated magna cum laude in 1995. He earned a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 2002.
Shapiro lives with his wife Lori and their four children in Abington, Pennsylvania. Shapiro is an observant Conservative Jew who keeps Kosher.
After graduating college, Shapiro moved to Washington D.C. He began his D.C. tenure as a legislative assistant to Senator Carl Levin, then served as a senior adviser to Congressman Peter Deutsch and Senator Robert Torricelli. From 1999-2003, he worked as Chief of Staff to Congressman Joe Hoeffel, serving as the youngest Chief of Staff on Capitol Hill.
In 2004, Shapiro ran for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 153rd district. He won election by a margin of nine points over the Republican nominee, former Congressman Jon D. Fox. He won re-election in 2006, 2008, and 2010.
Following the 2006 elections, Democrats controlled the Pennsylvania State House with a one-seat advantage over Republicans, but the party was unable to unite behind a candidate for Speaker of the House. Shapiro helped to broker a deal that resulted in the election of moderate Republican Dennis O’Brien as Speaker of the House. O’Brien subsequently named Shapiro as Deputy Speaker of the House.
Shapiro won election to the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners in 2011; the election marked the first time in history that the Republican Party lost control of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. Shapiro became chairman of the board of commissioners, initially serving alongside Democrat Leslie Richards and Republican Bruce Castor. During his tenure, the board of commissioners implemented zero-based budgeting and shifted county pension investments from hedge funds to index funds. Democrats retained a majority on the board of commissioners in the 2015 election, as Shapiro and his running mate, Val Arkoosh, both won election.
In April 2015, Governor Tom Wolf named Shapiro Chair of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
Shapiro announced his intention to run for Pennsylvania Attorney General in January 2016. He had never previously served as a prosecutor, but he was a member of the state bar and worked with the law firm Stradley Ronon. Shapiro campaigned on his promise to restore the office’s integrity following the resignation of Kathleen Kane, and he also promised to work to combat the opioid epidemic and gun violence. His campaign was supported by President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg was among the largest donors to Shapiro’s campaign. He won the Democratic primary for attorney general in April 2016, defeating Stephen Zappala and John Morganelli with 47% of the vote. In November 2016, Shapiro won election as attorney general, defeating Republican nominee John Rafferty Jr. with 51.3% of the vote.
Upon taking office, Shapiro joined with several other state attorneys general in opposing President Donald Trump’s travel ban, and he also filed a lawsuit to block the implementation of a rule that would have made it easier for employers to deny health insurance coverage of contraceptives. He also joined a lawsuit against ITT Technical Institute, a for-profit educational institute, that resulted in a $168 million settlement (with about $5 million of that settlement going to Pennsylvania students). In 2018, he reached an agreement with federal officials to prevent the distribution of blueprints for 3D printed firearms. In 2019, he came out in support of the legalization of marijuana for recreational use by adults, joining Governor Wolf and other leading Pennsylvania Democrats.
In 2016, shortly before Shapiro took office, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office began an investigation of allegations of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church. Shapiro chose to move forward with the investigation, and, in August 2018, he released the results of an extensive grand jury report. The report alleged the sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children at the hands of over 300 priests. His report prompted similar investigations in other states, an inquiry by the federal government, and proposed legislation to change the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania.