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One of 16 congressional candidates
who could make Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House

Twenty-year Pennsylvania Republican incumbent
in dead heat with Democratic challenger Joe Sestak
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Pat Murphy

Copyright fogcityjournal.com 2006

June 29, 2006

One of the Congressional candidates who stand an even chance of returning the U.S. House of Representatives to Democratic control visited San Francisco Wednesday to ask for help.

Polls show Democrat Joe Sestak running 46-46% against 20-year incumbent Republican Curt Weldon in the working class Pennsylvania 7th Congressional District, Sestak introduced himself to a Washington Square Bar and Grill gathering.

Democrats must unseat 15 Republican House members to become the majority party and elect the next Speaker of the House - with San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi widely believed to be House Democrats choice for Speaker.

Across the country, Democrats believe their candidates have at least an even chance to defeat Republican candidates in 16 Congressional Districts.

Sestak stands out, said political consultant Tom Hsieh who organized the event, as a Naval Admiral who opposes the Bush Iraq policy.

Joe Sestak in discussion with West Sider Tony Guilfoyle, center,
and political consultant Tom Hsieh.

Hsieh contrasted differences between Sestak and Weldon.

Sestak "is running as a Democratic candidate against a Republican who is anti-choice, who is anti-environment, who is anti-gay marriage, anti-civil union, and anti-education," noted Hsieh.

"It's pretty clear for me, because I get to run against Democrats all the time here in San Francisco, that he's running against the real enemy.

"So I look at his record. Thirty-one years in the Navy. Ends up a three star Vice Admiral in the Navy.

"I look at his educational experience. A doctorate degree from Harvard.

"His personal experience. He's a father. He's a husband. He's running in the place where he grew up and went to school at in his hometown.

"I look at his policy experience. He served with President Bill Clinton as director of policy on defense, on the National Security Council."

Sestak served in Afghanistan and retired from the Navy in January.

He looks back wryly on Bush Administration strategy in Afghanistan.

"I actually flew into Afghanistan about two months after we did the retaliatory strikes," recalled Sestak.

"I sat next to a guy from the CIA who had a handcuff on one wrist and the handcuff was to a suitcase filled with millions of dollars.

"We really did buy a lot of loyalty in that war," the candidate said to laughter.

"The terrorism that is still rampant and the fighting that is still rampant in Afghanistan... is because we forfeited the opportunity to bring stability back to that country.

"The other (influence) elements of ours - the international power, the rule of law, the society that works... to match whatever stability is there and constantly bring society in - we've lost that leadership."

If elected, Sestak said he would vote to authorize a safe return of troops from Iraq for one year.

"I will pay for whatever it takes for a safe withdrawl within a year but not beyond that."

As director of the Navy Quadrennial Defense Review, Sestak focused on economic investment in developing countries as part of national strategy to combat terrorism.

Yesterday he added economic investment begins at home

"I'm running because I believe in security," pledged Sestak.

"A security where we invest in people, where national security begins at home in universal health care, in education... in economic dreams."

For more information, visit sestakforcongress.com.




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