YOU COULD SAY that as elected officials go, Kathleen Kane is an easy act to follow. The convicted and soon-to-be-jailed former attorney general presided over a chaotic, disheartening and blessedly short chapter in the state's history of law and order.
It wasn't too long after her election, which crowned her AG and a political rising star, that the wheels started falling off: highly public internecine battles that led to her leaking grand jury material to exact revenge, which has now landed her a jail term. If that wasn't disheartening enough, the revelation that many on her staff were part of a ring of pornography-obsessed state officials added to the circus. She inherited that staff, but her handling of the situation to benefit her own standing was inept.
While it may be easy for any successor to look good in comparison, the next attorney general has a huge clean-up job, both internally and externally, to restore the public's faith, as well as to turn around a poisonous and destructive office culture.
We trust Josh Shapiro with that job. Shapiro, a Democrat, was known as a state legislator who pushed for ethics reform - a nearly impossible task in Harrisburg - and prevailed, and continued his reform as chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. He has intelligence and integrity, and while he doesn't have prosecutorial experience, he has vision and the ability to refocus the office to work on behalf of citizens. Among other issues, he wants to focus on the opioid addiction problem, scammers who target seniors and reasonable controls for guns. But his pledge to instill ethics training and implement a code of conduct for his office gives us the most hope. His able opponent, State Sen. Rafferty, is former Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General. He is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and spearheaded the passage of Act 89, a 2013 transportation funding bill. He's also supported by the NRA.
Shapiro's background makes him the candidate to restore trust and credibility to the office.
The auditor general, the state's chief fiscal officer, is another office that works on behalf of citizens. Another obvious choice is incumbent Eugene DePasquale. This office is at the front lines of ensuring integrity in government and that taxpayers' money isn't being wasted.
DePasquale, a Democrat, is running against county executive John Brown, who argues that his experience can be more effective than the incumbent's approach. We don't agree; through audits and investigations, DePasquale has identified over $300 million in squandered funds. He has notably tackled charter schools, questioning the funding formula, and recently announced an audit of the the Philadelphia Parking Authority. He has also uncovered the underreporting of a big state backlog of rape kits and found serious problems with the understaffing of the state's child-abuse hotline. DePasquale has proven that a strong auditor's impact can go well beyond the bottom line.
The State Treasurer's office is another disgraced office; Rob McCord, who resigned office in 2015, pleaded guilty to extortion. Running for this important watch dog role is Democrat Joe Torsella, former CEO of the Constitution Center, and Republican Otto Voit, a business executive. For his public service background and vision for the office, we endorse Joe Torsella.