Governor-elect Josh Shapiro said he plans to nominate Bucks County’s former top prosecutor Michelle Henry to replace him as Attorney General.
“Michelle Henry has been by my side as First Deputy,” Shapiro said Wednesday during a KYW radio interview. “You may remember she was district attorney in Bucks County for a period of time and a longtime public servant.”
Shapiro said Henry would take over for him by law, as Acting Attorney General, when he is sworn in as governor of Pennsylvania on Jan. 17.
“I intend to then nominate her to the state Senate for consideration to lose the acting title and to serve out the remaining two years of my term,” he said.
Her nomination will then come before the Senate for a confirmation vote.
“There’s no better person he could have chosen,” said Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub. “Her credentials are impeccable and she’s a fantastic person.”
According to the Attorney General’s website, Henry, a 20-year veteran prosecutor, currently is responsible for overseeing all legal, criminal and civil matters in the Office of Attorney General.
In January 2008, Henry was appointed Bucks County District Attorney by a bipartisan vote of the Bucks County judiciary but, when the term expired, she chose to step into the role of the First Assistant District Attorney rather than run for the seat.
In her career with the DA’s office, Henry served in every possible role, including as an assistant DA, deputy DA, chief deputy, senior deputy, chief of major crimes and chief of child abuse.
“Our entire commonwealth is well served by this choice,” said Weintraub. “We’re all better off.”
Henry, he added, is the type of attorney who cares less about wins and losses than she does about making sure cases come to the correct conclusions.
“She’s tenacious, she’s an incredibly hard worker and she has a high emotional IQ,” he said. “And she’s relentless in her pursuit of justice.”
Weintraub worked with Henry for about six years in the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, from his return to Bucks County from a stint as an assistant prosecutor in Cape May County in 2011 until 2017, when she left Bucks County to join Shapiro in the attorney general’s office.
Also Wednesday, Shapiro announced five cabinet appointments: Dr. Val Arkoosh to be Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Dr. Debra L. Bogen to be Secretary of Health, Dr. Latika Davis-Jones to be Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Jason Kavulich to be Secretary of Aging, and Mike Humphreys to be Insurance Commissioner.
He called the appointments “historically diverse” and “bipartisan as well.”
During the radio interview, Shapiro said of Dr. Arkoosh, with whom he served in Montgomery County, “I’ve seen her work firsthand; she is someone who truly listens with her heart. She is someone who is truly capable and a dedicated public servant. I’ve seen the difference that she’s made throughout Montgomery County; I’m excited for her to do that all across Pennsylvania.”
Dr. Arkoosh has served on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners since she was first appointed to fill a vacancy on the Commission in January 2015, and she was later elected to two full four-year terms in November 2015 and November 2019. She served as Commission Vice Chair until her election as Commission Chair in November 2016, the first woman to assume this role.
As a physician and public health professional, Dr. Arkoosh led the National Physicians Alliance, a national nonprofit organization of physicians, who, putting their patients before profits, joined a broad-based nationwide coalition for reform.
Prior to stepping into public service, Dr. Arkoosh was Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania.