2009-07-09 / Front Page

Joe Sestak To Run Against Specter

STAFF REPORT

U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak visits the "News" office Tuesday morning. U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak visits the "News" office Tuesday morning. U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), from Media, Pa., was in Mc- Connellsburg Tuesday morning to meet with Fulton County Democrats and visit the "News" office during a 20-day tour of Pennsylvania's 67 counties.

At the end of that tour, Sestak is expected to formally announce that he is running for the Democratic nomination for U.S. senator. He will be running against Sen. Arlen Specter, who recently switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. Specter was also in the county last week holding a town hall type meeting at the Fulton Theatre late Wednesday afternoon. (See story elsewhere.)

"He (Specter) is not the right leader for the times," Sestak said. "I know he is not the person to lead us into the future."

Following an early morning meeting with county Democratic Chairman Rheon Gelvin and active Democrats at the headquarters on South Second Street, Sestak stopped by the "News" office to meet with publisher Jamie Greathead.

"Specter voted against healthcare reform in the 1990s without offering an alternative and was the decisive vote on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans," Sestak said.

Specter voted with President George W. Bush 80 percent of the time and has given the country a tragic war in Iraq and a tril- lion-dollar debt, Sestak said.

Congressman Joe Sestak is a former three-star admiral who was elected to U.S. Congress in 2006, after 31 years in the Navy. He served as President Clinton's director of defense policy at the White House, and after 9/11 the Navy selected him to become the first director of its anti-terrorism unit. He currently serves as a member of the House Armed Services Committee and was recently appointed to the Defense Acquisitions Reform Panel.

Sestak said he was originally asked to run by the Democratic Senatorial Committee, but lost its endorsement when Specter switched parties.

"Specter may have the endorsements of President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Gov. Ed Rendell, but that doesn't go far when you walk into a veterans post," Sestak said. "Nobody asks who endorses you," he said. "They want to know what you will do for healthcare and will you be there for us for the long term."

Although not widely known outside of his home 7th Congressional District, Sestak does not consider himself an underdog. "We are in this to win; we can win and we will win," he said. Adding that his 67 county tour will greatly increase his exposure thoughout Pennsylvania.

Congressman Sestak said his congressional office handles constituent services seven days a week and well into the night. His office handles triple the calls of the average congressional office. "That is part of what my staff is outside doing right now. Working hard for the people of the 7th Congressional District. We want to do the same for the people of Pennsylvania," Sestak said.

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