It has been a prolific political career so far for the new governor of Pennsylvania.
Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat from a county adjacent to Philadelphia, has essentially passed every test he’s embraced as a public figure. Here’s a look at his way to Harrisburg’s top offices.
How old is Josh Shapiro?
The 48th governor of Pennsylvania was born on June 20, 1973 in Kansas City, Missouri.
The 49-year-old’s background includes an upbringing in Montgomery County in Pennsylvania. He graduated from high school in 1991 from Akiba Hebrew Academy—which has since been renamed the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy—and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Rochester.
He continued to work on Capitol Hill on the staff of US Senator Carl Levin, US Representative Peter Deutsch, US Senator Robert Torricelli, and US Representative Joe Hoefell.
While in Washington, DC, Shapiro attended Georgetown University Law Center. She received a doctorate there in 2002.
Shapiro is married to Lori, his high school sweetheart.
Josh Shapiro election results
A prolific activist and fundraiser, Shapiro has nearly two decades of continued success at the polls.
In 2004, he won his first race for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 153rd district. He held this seat from 2005 to 2011, serving on committees on appropriations, finance, insurance, the judiciary, and state government.
Shapiro changed gears in 2012, winning a Montgomery County commissioner seat and then securing re-election with running mate Val Arkoosh, who has since been named secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
Outgoing US President Barack Obama backed Shapiro – an early backer of his candidacy for the White House – when Shapiro announced he was running for Commonwealth Attorney General. He went on to defeat Republican State Senator John Rafferty in that contest by 2 points.
Unopposed in the re-election primary, Shapiro secured another term in 2020 with a 5-point victory over the GOP’s Heather Heidelbaugh.
His tenure as attorney general included several high-profile initiatives:
Shapiro versus Mastriano
Shapiro was again unchallenged within his party when he declared his intent to seek the governor’s mansion in the 2022 election. This put him on a collision course with State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Adams/Franklin) , a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump.
Shapiro, who had previously denounced Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results on national TV, was on the offensive from the start of this race.
His campaign featured Mastriano as the most extreme candidate for high office in Pennsylvania history, emphasizing his opponent’s support from militia groups and involvement in mobilizing constituents to participate in the January 6, 2021 rally-turned-riot at the United States Capitol. Mastriano’s deeply unpopular anti-abortion stance also became a focal point when the US Supreme Court struck down the Roe v. Wade in the summer of 2022.
Faith was another central theme in this campaign: While Mastriano highlighted his Christian beliefs, Shapiro criticized him for his association with openly anti-Semitic figures and Gab, a social media site used by the Pennsylvania man responsible of the deadliest massacre of Jews in American history.
By channeling a centrist drive that earned him bipartisan praise as both a state representative and county commissioner, Shapiro secured the support of prominent Republicans across the Commonwealth. He also crushed Mastriano in cash games, raising nearly eight times as much money as the state senator.
Shapiro never trailed in the polls and eventually won by a snowballing 12 points.
On January 17, Shapiro officially assumed the reins from predecessor Tom Wolf as governor of Pennsylvania.
Shapiro was sworn in on a trio of Bibles by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Debra Todd. He was joined on stage by several former Pennsylvania governors and also by his running mate Austin Davis, who became the first black lieutenant governor in Commonwealth history.
Though Shapiro has since faced scrutiny for refusing to disclose who paid for his inaugural celebration, his first days in the governor’s office were generally met with proverbial applause. His orders to remove degree requirements for 65,000 government positions in Pennsylvania and to order executive branch employees to return to work in person have received some bipartisan praise in the legislature.
Bruce Siwy is a reporter for USA TODAY Network’s Pennsylvania State Capital office. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @BruceSiwy.