GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel: Joe Sestak is the Kind of Leader the Senate Needs

Endorses Candidacy at Event in Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Calling him a principled and independent leader who will always do what’s right regardless of partisan politics, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel endorsed Joe Sestak in his bid for the U.S. Senate today.

Speaking in front of the Point of View Statue in downtown Pittsburgh, the two-term Republican senator and Vietnam combat veteran said Admiral Sestak will always stand on the side of working families and fight for practical solutions that put them first.

“[Joe’s] approach is all about solving problems. America wants responsible leaders, who speak responsibly,” said Hagel. “It’s tough to lead, especially with all the complications we have. Joe Sestak has done that.”

“I am honored to have the endorsement of Senator Hagel,” said Joe. “Chuck’s tenure in the Senate is a laudable example of what it means not to be a puppet for your party or special interests but to be a sovereign and tireless advocate for those you serve. He showed that public servants, regardless of diverging opinion, can be problem solvers together, and I hope to follow his shining example in the U.S. Senate.”

Hagel said that as a former businessman, he understands the challenges the country faces amidst the recession and the need for ideas like Joe’s that benefit working families, including a 15 percent tax credit for small businesses, a move that could create as many as 5 million jobs in just two years and help build Pennsylvania’s economy.

“We are in the middle of dramatic times that come about once every 50 years,” said Hagel. “I don’t know if America has been in this much trouble since probably the Great Depression, and certainly we have never seen the world be reshaped, reformed, and redefined and reoriented like this since right after World War II. This is a traumatic, unprecedented, historic time and we want steady people at the helm, experienced, wise, careful leaders with courage. This Admiral knows how to do it and has done it.”

While he and Joe may not agree on every issue, Hagel said he admires Joe for his record of reaching across the aisle and working with Republicans, Democrats and others on important issues like supporting our veterans. Hagel noted their work together to pass the Senator’s Post-9/11 GI Bill and that Joe wrote and passed the legislation to reverse a Bush Administration policy excluding more than a million veterans from the VA health system.

‘I have faith in the courage he has displayed all his life on every front, on every issue. I have confidence in his judgment. I have confidence that he will make the right decisions,”  said Hagel. “He will not buckle under any threats or coercions.”

Senator Hagel and Admiral Sestak will head across the Commonwealth for a similar event in Philadelphia later today at Washington Square.

Joe Sestak was elected to Congress in 2006 after a distinguished 31-year career in the United States Navy, and he is honored to represent the Southeastern Pennsylvania district where he was born and raised. He is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat from Pennsylvania.  During his Navy career, Joe attained the rank of 3-star Admiral, served in the White House as Director for Defense Policy on President Clinton’s National Security Council, served in the Pentagon as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, and led a series of operational commands at sea, culminating in command of the USS George Washington Aircraft Carrier Battle Group (30 ships, 100 aircraft, and 15,000 sailors/marines/aviators/SEALs) during combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In our nation’s time of crisis in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the Navy turned to Joe Sestak to serve as the first Director of “Deep Blue,” the Navy anti-terrorism unit formed in response to the attacks. Joe is the highest-ranking former military officer ever elected to either branch of Congress. He graduated second in his class from the U.S. Naval Academy and holds a Master’s in Public Administration and a PhD in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University. Joe lives in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Susan, and daughter, Alex, and proudly represents the 7th District, where his mother and many of his seven siblings still reside.

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