It didn’t take long for Josh Shapiro to disinfect the Office of Attorney General from the aftereffects of his predecessor, Kathleen Kane, who, after being charged with two felony counts of perjury and several lesser charges, served eight months in prison.

As a well-regarded former county commissioner and state legislator with a reputation for being smart and principled, Shapiro has succeeded in restoring integrity to the office. His performance in office for the past four years has been as a fierce advocate, which has served Pennsylvanians well. He set up divisions for fair labor, consumer financial protection, and civil rights. His most ambitious work was taking on the Catholic Church, leading a grand jury investigation in clergy sexual abuse that identified more than 300 predator priests. The massive report prompted similar investigations across the country and led to a much-needed change in the law on the statute of limitations for complaints. That change will have reverberations for a long time to come. He has also challenged the Trump administration in numerous suits, winning a challenge that would demand citizens' information in the 2020 Census.

There are issues we disagree with him on, like his opposition to safe injection sites, but his success in restoring integrity and fighting on behalf of Pennsylvanians earns Josh Shapiro our strong endorsement. His Republican opponent is Heather Heidelbaugh, a longtime Pittsburgh trial lawyer. She declined to be interviewed by this Editorial Board.

About Inquirer Endorsements
Prior to each election, the Inquirer’s Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom, identifies the races where an endorsement can help readers understand where candidates stand on issues and why we think voters should support (or not support) a particular candidate.
We think all elections are important and try to cover as many as we can. We research the candidates' backgrounds through the work of our newsroom colleagues, as well as through our own reporting. The Board also hosts meetings with candidates running in contended races, where we ask them about their stance on the issues we think are most important to their constituents. This year, we held virtual meetings with them on Zoom. The meetings are on the record.
We invite your comments on this process and our endorsements at opinion@inquirer.com. If you’d like your comments to be considered for our letters to the editor page, please include your address and phone number (not for publication) so we can verify your identity.