See also Part II, Part III and Part IV.
From the Post-Gazette:
Finishing up a two-day swing through the Pittsburgh area, U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak picked up endorsements from five local Democrats yesterday in his race against Sen. Arlen Specter.
City Controller Michael Lamb, state Sen. Jim Ferlo, of Highland Park, City Council members Doug Shields and Bruce Kraus, and state delegate and 14th Ward leader Barbara Daly-Danko pledged their support for the second-term congressman from Delaware County on the steps of the City-County Building, Downtown. (P-G, Daniel Malloy)
Some notes taken from a get-together held in Mt. Washington on Sunday evening, filmed above, and from a short interview with the Comet:
- Sestak spent 31 years in the Navy and attained the rank of 3-star admiral. That is something I, as well as others I had spoken to, just did not know about him yet.
- "The best thing you can do to win the Global War on Terror in Afghanistan is increase the literacy rate among women." I asked him what he meant by this and he explained that "If you are keeping women down, half the population doesn't understand the problems around them." He said right now there are "One or two women in Parliament arguing for the right thing," and uses as a reference Northern Ireland, which "became the most prosperous nation in the E.U." as women became more influential. He also lauded the power of $1,000 microloans to get more of the population employed and on the right track. At the same time, he frequently asserted that "there needs to be an exit-strategy for Afghanistan", that it "can't be an open-ended commitment", that " we can't afford to nation-build anymore " because the window for nation-building closed long ago -- things have just deteriorated too badly.
- He is occasionally called upon by the Obama Administration to take to the airwaves to defend positions such as the closure of GITMO and the trying of its inhabitants in NYC, but he suggests that to have a U.S. Senator such as himself capable of doing the same thing would be even more effective.
- The compromise at the end of the Senate health care bill was "unacceptable". He believes the President is "on the right path" but needs just "a few more allies" instead of many who were "just waiting for the deal at the end." In addition to the health care "public option", he also ticks off "DOMA" and "card check" as issues he would fight for.
- When I asked how he would respond to a Republican challengers such as Pat Toomey or Peg Luksik, who would be likely to attack the high cost of some Democratic programs and the impact on the national deficit, he responded: "I would remind people that Pat Toomey voted for the economic policy that gave us this." Also: "He [Toomey] permitted doing away with PAYGO ["pay as you go"] -- in fact, he voted 'present'". And: "This opponent actually gave us this savage recession."
- I also asked his position on so-called "Cap and Trade" environmental legislation, and how he would respond to criticism by conservatives and others that this would negatively impact jobs during a recession. He gave a four-point answer:
* We need Cap and Trade for national security; to reduce our reliance on foreign oil
* It will produce jobs; such sources as the Environmental Protection Agency, MIT and the Congressional Budget Office claim it will produce 72,000 jobs and could net 1.7 million over its lifetime.
* The economics of responding to climate change is favorable: eventually, cows produce less milk, fruit grows smaller, et cetera.
* The cost is low. It would start out as "a postage stamp per household per day" starting in 2013, and by 2022, we would be reaping "$750 million in energy efficiencies".
- Sestak had just come from a "Marcellus Shale event" in Philadelphia. He wants to close what he calls "The Halliburton Loophole" in the law which states we are not permitted to know what chemicals are seeping out into our groundwater.