The LuLac Edition #3326, October 19th, 2016
Last week Attorney General candidate Josh Shapiro visited the Scranton Area and spoke with the Times Tribune's premier political journalist Borys Krawczeniuk about his plans. Here's that article and the link.
If elected attorney general, Democratic Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro promises a reform-minded, ethical office that emphasizes consumer and environmental protection and cracks down on heroin traffickers but with more emphasis on treating addiction.
“I think now more than ever we need an attorney general with executive skills with a history and a track record and a plan to restore integrity and fairness to our criminal justice system and plan on what they’ll do with the job,” Mr. Shapiro told the Times-Tribune editorial board.
Mr. Shapiro faces Republican state Sen. John Rafferty, also of Montgomery County, in the Nov. 8 election. The winner will have to deal with restoring an attorney general’s office wracked by scandal for the past two years during the investigation, arrest and conviction of former Attorney General Kathleen Kane, of Waverly Twp., on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. Ms. Kane, a Scranton native, resigned in August, and was replaced by Bruce Beemer, a Clarks Summit native.
Mr. Shapiro, a licensed lawyer and chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, defended his lack of experience as a criminal prosecutor. He pointed out 40 percent of attorneys general nationwide were never criminal prosecutors. Unlike district attorneys, the attorney general’s office also has civil law and public protection divisions that focus on noncriminal issues.
“We’re not elected the 68th district attorney,” he said.
Mr. Shapiro said he would institute an ethics policy that requires his staffers to sign a promise to live up to a new code of conduct and undergo regular ethics training. The policy will include a ban on accepting gifts and online disclosure of office expenses. He plans to ask the state General Assembly to adopt stiffer penalties for corrupt public officials, including toughening the law to ensure convicted public officials do not receive pensions.
He plans to work with local district attorneys to stem the flow of heroin, fight for more money for addiction treatment through drug and veterans courts and work with doctors and pharmaceutical companies to curb unnecessary prescribing of painkillers that repeatedly have led people into heroin addiction.
“The truth is, for a long time, everyone thought we could just arrest our way out of this crisis,” he said. “And we can’t.”
He wants to develop more places where citizens can dispose of unused prescription drugs.
“I know it sounds silly, but it has to be part of the solution,” he said.
His emphasis on consumer protection will include a focus on ensuring that non-profit charitable institutions meet state requirements for charitable behavior and working with banks to spot scamming of senior citizens and others. On the environmental front, he will beef up an office division that focuses on ensuring clean air and water for Pennsylvanians.
Though political observers sometimes suspect he has ambitions for higher office, Mr. Shapiro said he will not run for governor while still attorney general in either a first or second term.
“I want to be attorney general,” he said. “I know some people find that hard to believe. This is the job I want. ... It is the most impactful job in Pennsylvania government. Bar none.”
Voters elect an attorney general to four-year terms. The job pays $158,764 a year.