Sestak Announces Bid for Auditor General, PA Treasurer, Congress, Governor in 2014 & 2018
Former Congressman and Senate hopeful Joe Sestak announced his candidacy for several local and statewide offices today, ending months of speculation over the Admiral’s political aspirations.
In a 23-page press release, Sestak explained that he was running because of a lack of accountability in the offices of Auditor General, PA Treasurer, Congressmen Meehan (or Gerlach, depending on redistricting), and Governor Corbett.
“Pennsuhvanian is in crisis, and voters deserve responsible, accountable leadership,” said Sestak. “Unfortunately there’s only one of me, so I will give it my best.”
The Admiral-Congressman proceeded to tell a two-hour anecdote about accountability from his days in the U.S. Navy, continuing even after supporters and press had left the room.
Sestak’s the announcement comes as he begins his “Local Government Tour” which will bring him to each of Pennsylvania’s 2,565 incorporated municipalities.
Below is Sestak’s full release:
NEWS FROM JOE SESTAK, DEMOCRAT FOR AUDITOR GENERAL, TREASURER, CONGRESS, GOVERNOR (2014 & 2018)
For Immediate Release: April 1, 2011
Contact: (610) 123-1234, Press@JoeSestak.com
Joe Launches 2,565 Municipality Tour
Will Speak With Voters About Candidacy for Every Statewide Office
MEDIA, Pa. – Former Congressman Joe Sestak will take his message directly to Pennsylvania voters – again.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Congressman Joe Sestak was in DuBois Tuesday morning to present his Healthy Families proposals as the sixth and latest installment of his “Plan for Pennsylvania Families.” The plan is a comprehensive policy initiative outlining what Joe will do as Pennsylvania’s next Senator for Pennsylvania’s next generation — something that no other candidate in the race has done. Joe is pictured in DuBois discussing his efforts to pass health insurance reform and his strategy for additional steps to improve our nation’s healthcare system.
You can view Joe’s “Plan for Pennsylvania Families” – Healthy Families at http://joesestak.com/planforpafamilies/theplan.pdf
“I ran for Congress primarily because of one issue: health care,” Joe told the crowd gathered at American Legion Post 17. “Several years ago, when my daughter was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, she received some of the best care modern medicine can provide under my military health care plan. We have been very blessed, but many families of hardworking Americans have not been so fortunate.”
Last year, Joe helped pass the Affordable Health Choices for America Act, a comprehensive reform bill that not only covers the uninsured, but also ends insurer rationing of care and guarantees that Americans will not be denied care based on pre-existing conditions. The House’s legislation creates a nationwide health insurance exchange, making it easier for small businesses, the self-employed, and the unemployed to pool resources and purchase less expensive coverage. In conjunction with a public health insurance option, this healthcare marketplace will increase competition among insurers to keep them honest and drive down costs.
“With healthcare costs escalating, millions of Americans are unable to get the care they need and many are being forced into bankruptcy trying to get it. Over 46 million Americans are currently without insurance, and 14,000 more lose coverage everyday,” Joe said. “Yet healthcare reform is not just a moral imperative — it is an economic necessity. If we do not act, healthcare costs will consume one-third of economic output by 2040. The status quo is simply not an option.”
The plan Joe outlined this morning went beyond current health insurance reform legislation, laying out additional strategies for improving the quality of care in the United States, as well as lowering the cost — including incentivizing primary care, investing in preventative care, and funding research in innovative healthcare treatments.
He talked about the need to address incentives in the current system that drive up costs and encourage excessive treatment. “If we’re serious about bringing down healthcare costs in the long run,” Joe explained, “we need to transition away from fee-for-service medicine and start reimbursing doctors based on the quality of care they provide — not the quantity of care.”
Just months after passing an economic stimulus bill to rescue America from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Congressman Joe Sestak plans to vote for H.R. 4173, which provides new market safeguards that will help restore trust in America’s economic future. If enacted, this legislation will restore oversight to the financial markets, create mechanisms for limiting executive pay, and help prevent the predatory lending practices that caused the Wall Street meltdown last year.
“Pennsylvania’s next generation of prosperity will be built on the foundation of financial security outlined in this bill,” Joe said. “Still, there are some who seem more concerned with re-writing history for the sake of political survival than coming clean about their mistakes in backing the Bush Administration’s failed economic policies over the past decade. If my primary opponent, long-time Republican Arlen Specter, and his Republican colleagues had the courage to take responsibility for their part in dismantling the safeguards that brought our country to the brink of financial collapse, it would go a long way in restoring the peoples’ trust in their elected officials.”
Instead of standing up to Republicans, Senator Specter stood by their side – supporting Bush tax breaks for multimillionaires, deregulating Wall Street, eliminating “PAYGO” requirements, and turning his back on families facing foreclosure. For example, he:
- Deregulated Wall Street: forbidding any requirement for reporting derivative transactions, tearing down the walls between investment companies and consumer banks; and removing requirements that banks keep sufficient cash reserves on hand. When the financial crises occurred, institutions were therefore unable to avoid collapse — or protect working Americans; (S. 900, Vote #105, 5/6/99) (H.R. 4577, 12/15/2000)
- Eliminated “pay-as-you-go” (PAYGO) rules, which had created 3 budget surpluses under President Clinton by requiring Congress to offset the cost of any new spending programs; and
- (H.R. 5708, Vote #482, 11/14/2002)
- Voted time and again for Bush’s tax breaks for multi-millionaires — more than 50% went to the wealthiest one percent. In fact, between 2001 through 2008, under Arlen Specter’s and President Bush’s economic and tax policies — without a “pay-as-you-go” requirement — the national debt more than doubled from $4.5 trillion to over $9 trillion.
- Voted to strip a key provision from the Helping Families Save Their Home Act that would have saved homes by empowering bankruptcy judges to reduce principal and interest rates for homeowners in bankruptcy [S AMDT 1014, 4/30/09]
Pennsylvanians are still feeling the effects of the Bush-Specter policies that let the reckless trading and predatory lending practices go unchecked. At its worst point, 7,000 Americans lost their jobs every month, most of whom are still looking for work. Families have lost their homes to foreclosure, bringing down property values across the state. And many seniors who have worked their entire lives have seen their retirement savings and pensions wiped out.
“Challenging times like these require leaders who will challenge Wall Street on behalf of working families,” Joe continued. “Failure to act by Bush and Specter gravely harmed our economy and risked an even deeper and more protracted recession. The economic recovery efforts currently underway — including TARP and the Economic Stabilization Act — were necessary to bring our economy back from the brink of collapse.”
Joe Sestak has long championed the efforts undertaken by H.R. 4173, which accomplishes the following five goals to prevent another market meltdown:
- Creates a more stable, safer financial system less prone to crisis;
- Provides substantial new protections for consumers and investors;
- Safeguards American taxpayers from having to bear the costs of future crisis;
- Recognizes global approach (avoid cross-border arbitrage/loss of competitiveness); and
- Fosters innovation, growth and prosperity.
This legislation builds on the economic recovery bill, which Joe Sestak voted to pass earlier in the year. The recovery bill helped save three million additional jobs from being lost in the first half of 2009, stopped the unemployment rate from climbing over 12%, and prevented GDP from remaining stuck beneath its pre-2007 peak until 2014. Joe is now continuing his call for a comprehensive jobs creation bill to provide new incentives for small businesses, increase aid to state and local governments, and extend health benefits for workers who lost their jobs in the recession.
Below, please find a summary of the provisions of H.R. 4173.
Consumer Protections: Creates the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), a new, independent federal agency solely devoted to protecting Americans from unfair and abusive financial products and services.
Ends Taxpayer-funded Bailouts and Prevents the Rise of Institutions that are “Too Big to Fail”: Establishes an orderly process for dismantling large, failing financial institutions like AIG or Lehman Brothers in a way that ends bailouts, protects taxpayers, and prevents contagion to the rest of the financial system. Creates a Systemic Dissolution Fund that can be used to help wind down failing financial institutions, but not to preserve them. The Fund will be pre-funded by assessments on financial companies with more than $50 billion in assets and by hedge funds with more than $10 billion in assets, thus ending the need for taxpayer-funded bailouts. Again, with enactment of this legislation, there are no more taxpayer-funded bailouts for failing institutions. If financial assistance is necessary for orderly dissolution, industry will pay for it.
Financial Stability Council: Creates an inter-agency oversight council that will identify and regulate financial firms that are so large, interconnected, or risky that their collapse would put the entire financial system at risk. These systemically risky firms will be subject to heightened oversight, standards, and regulation.
Executive Compensation: Gives shareholders a “say on pay” – an advisory vote on pay practices including executive compensation and golden parachutes. It also enables regulators to ban inappropriate or imprudently risky compensation practices, and it requires financial firms to disclose any compensation structures that include incentive-based elements.
Investor Protections: Strengthens the SEC’s powers so that it can better protect investors and regulate the nation’s securities markets. It responds to the failures to detect the Madoff and Stanford Financial frauds by ordering a study of the entire securities industry that will identify needed reforms and force the SEC and other entities to further improve investor protection.
Regulation of Derivatives: Regulates, for the first time ever, the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives marketplace. Under the bill, all standardized swap transactions between dealers and “major swap participants” would have to be cleared and traded on an exchange or electronic platform. The bill defines a major swap participant as anyone that maintains a substantial net position in swaps, exclusive of hedging for commercial risk, or whose positions create such significant exposure to others that it requires monitoring.
Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending: Would incorporate the tough mortgage reform and anti-predatory lending bill Congressman Sestak voted for and the House passed earlier this year (H.R. 1728). The legislation outlaws many of the egregious industry practices that marked the subprime lending boom, and it would ensure that mortgage lenders make loans that benefit the consumer. It would establish a simple standard for all home loans: institutions must ensure that borrowers can repay the loans they are sold.
Reform of Credit Rating Agencies: Addresses the role that credit rating agencies played in the economic crisis, and takes strong steps to reduce conflicts of interest, reduce market reliance on credit rating agencies, and impose a liability standard on the agencies.
Hedge Fund, Private Equity and Private Pools of Capital Registration: Fills a regulatory hole that allows hedge funds and their advisors to escape any and all regulation. This bill requires almost all advisers to private pools of capital to register with the SEC, and they will be subject to systemic risk regulation by the Financial Stability regulator.
Office of Insurance: Creates a Federal Insurance Office that will monitor all aspects of the insurance industry, including identifying issues or gaps in the regulation of insurers that could contribute to a systemic crisis and undermine the entire financial system.
In a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Congressman Joe Sestak renewed his call for a strong, national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) such as the one contained in the American Renewable Energy Act. The legislation, which Joe has co-sponsored, would require all utilities to obtain 25% of their electricity from renewable sources by the year 2025.
Pennsylvania especially stands to gain from a national commitment to green energy. According to the Renewable Energy Policy Project, Pennsylvania ranks sixth in the nation in potential new manufacturing jobs from renewable energy development, with an estimated 42,668 jobs that could be created in the next 15 years by a 25% standard. The passage of the Commonwealth’s RES gave the wind-energy company Gamesa the incentive to open a wind turbine blade factory in Cambria County that employs 300 people (among its 800 employees state wide), including many unionized steelworkers who had lost their mill jobs. There are currently 40 companies that make components of wind turbines in Pennsylvania. A company in Joe’s district recently began using its long history of rotorcraft design to begin exploring expanding into domestic, wind turbine design and construction.
“While I remain committed to passing a strong comprehensive energy bill, there is no reason to delay in passing legislation for a national renewable energy standard, which will create jobs and spur private investment in a time when both are needed,” Joe wrote. “We cannot let America, for the first time in our history, fall behind. Manufacturing in this country, with good-paying, quality jobs, is not a thing of the past. With the right investment and right commitment, it will be the key to our recovery and our future.”
A RAND study shows that investments in clean energy create at least three times the number of jobs as investment in fossil fuels, and efforts such as the green energy bill that passed the House of Representatives earlier this year could create more than 71,000 new Pennsylvania jobs. Furthermore, the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that Pennsylvania consumers would save $5.95 billion in cumulative gas and electric bills by 2025 with a 25% renewable standard.
Joe Sestak has worked hard to ensure that inaction would not characterize America’s response to the threat of climate change. Joe helped pass comprehensive energy and climate change legislation last June, and urges the Senate to follow suit. During House debate of the bill, he wrote twice to leadership calling for a strong renewable energy standard, and withheld support for the bill until the week of the vote to guard against changes to the bill. He also voted for H.R. 3585, the Solar Technology Roadmap Act, which passed the House in October and authorizes over $2 billion in new research partnerships and demonstration projects for solar energy technologies, and has sponsored legislation that extends the provision in the economic stimulus bill that allows small businesses, such as farms, to receive grants instead of tax credits for investment and production of renewable energy. The bill also increases the tax credit for geothermal energy to be in line with other renewable sources.
Text of the letter is below:
February 3, 2010
The Honorable Henry A. Waxman
House Energy and Commerce Committee
2121 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Joe Barton
House Energy and Commerce Committee
2322A Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Waxman and Ranking Member Barton,
Congress should move quickly to pass a strong, national renewable energy standard of 25 percent to provide a clear and long-term commitment to renewable energy generation in this country and move forward in restoring our global leadership in this area until such time as climate change legislation moves forward in the Senate. While I remain committed to passing strong comprehensive energy legislation, there is no reason to delay in passing legislation for a national renewable energy standard, which will create jobs and spur private investment in a time when both are needed. We should act now on HR 890, the American Renewable Energy Act, to establish this threshhold.
Already over 30 states and 37 nations have some level of mandatory renewable energy requirements. This includes all countries of in the European Union, China, and my state of Pennsylvania. For the United States to remain globally competitive, we must make a long-term commitment that a national renewable energy standard can provide, and in so doing provide certainty to investors and encourage continuous domestic development of renewable energy technology.
I want to make sure that the new clean energy economy has a “Made in America” stamp. We cannot let America, for the first time in our history, fall behind. Manufacturing in this country, with good-paying, quality jobs, is not a thing of the past. With the right investment and right commitment, it will be the key to our recovery and our future.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Congressman Joe Sestak announced introduction of the “Livestock Farmer Risk Reduction Act” to improve dairy farmers’ access to federal assistance provided by United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) programs. Weathering the economic downturn has been particularly difficult for dairy farmers, as dairy prices fell from $22.60 to $12.90 this past June and the milk-feed price ratio fell to 1.45, well below $3.00, generally considered the sustainable price. Joe’s bill allocates greater resources for the USDA livestock insurance programs and educational outreach.
“This legislation is a commonsense way to ease the burden on dairy farmers in Pennsylvania who have struggled to make ends meet as we continue to rebuild our economy,” said Joe. “So many of them, particularly in Pennsylvania, have seen the cost of production exceed their intake. As a result of these conditions, farmers have had to take on large levels of debt or join the continually rising number of families forced into foreclosure.”
To further ensure Pennsylvania’s dairy concerns are addressed by the USDA, Joe wrote to Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting that the Commonwealth have at least one representative on the Dairy Advisory Committee the Secretary is forming. Joe states in the letter:
“Pennsylvania is the fourth largest milk producer and fifth largest dairy state in the nation and has both large and small farms, averaging 75 cows per farm. It serves as a representative sample of the dairy industry nation-wide. Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Russell Redding, has the background and experience to be an asset to your Committee. He has a strong understanding of Pennsylvania-specific dairy and agricultural issues and a national prospective having previously served as an agricultural advisor to former Senator Harris Wofford, someone I greatly respect.”
Specifically, Joe Sestak’s Livestock Farmer Risk Reduction Act of 2009 will:
- Increase to $40 million the arbitrary $20 million cap that the Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000 placed on livestock based insurance assistance– bringing livestock based insurance subsidies in line with crop insurance programs, which benefit from higher levels of assistance
- Double from $10 million to $20 million the amount authorized for education and outreach programs, and
- Explicitly include livestock insurance as an eligible outreach and education topic.
The Livestock Gross Margin program, which Joe’s legislation will support, provides protection against the market value of milk minus feed costs. It allows dairy farms to buy insurance at the margin between the predicted price for milk and the price of feed. If the price margin between the price of milk and the price of feed falls below a certain range at that future date, the farmer is insured against the difference. Thus if dairy prices fall unexpectedly or feed prices rise unexpectedly, farmers are protected from the downturn to avoid the catastrophic harm that they have faced during the current economic downturn.
For further information on the Livestock Gross Margin program visit: http://www.rma.usda.gov/help/faq/lgmdairy.html
Today, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Congressman Joe Sestak wrote to Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller urging him to call a vote on H.R. 4116, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) Reauthorization to provide critically-needed funding for preventing domestic violence, and to reestablish an official pathway for prevention and service funding.
“One in five women experiences some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. Each year, 4.5 million physical assaults are committed against women by intimate partners,” Joe wrote. “Domestic violence is only worsened by the stress associated with protracted economic recession, extended unemployment, and dim job prospects. One primary domestic violence service provider in Philadelphia, Women Against Abuse, had to turn away at least 4,671 victims in 2009. Now is a critical time to be expanding efforts to support services for victims of domestic violence, including shelters.”
Originally enacted by Congress in 1984, FVPSA supports more than 2,000 community-based domestic violence shelters nationwide that provide counseling, employment training, preventive health services, legal advocacy, and child care services to victims of abuse. However, the authorization for this funding expired in 2008 and has yet to be reauthorized, making this program more vulnerable to political decisions in Congress.
The bill Joe supports would increase by $75 million the authorization of funds for FVPSA programs and brings more permanence to these programs by reestablishing a set pathway for funding.
“This legislation will clear the pathway to increased federal support for victims of domestic violence and protect these vital programs from the whims of Congressional appropriators,” said Congressman Sestak.
Joe has worked in his District to provide resources to support victims of domestic violence. This includes obtaining $650,000 for shelter, education and support services at a new center in Upper Darby. In addition, he has co-sponsored legislation to allow victims of domestic violence unpaid leave, similar to sick leave, to prevent them from losing their jobs while attempting to seek help. The Economic Stimulus bill, championed by Joe, included $225 million for domestic violence prevention, of which more than $5 million has already been distributed to Pennsylvania.
See below for full text of Joe’s letter to Chairman Miller:
March 31, 2010
Chairman George Miller
Committee on Education and Labor
2181 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Miller,
Yesterday, President Obama finished signing momentous health care reform legislation into law. This legislation makes large strides for women in particular; it eliminates discrimination based on gender and eliminates the consideration of things like domestic violence or pregnancy as pre-existing conditions. Additionally, it expands health insurance coverage to the 18% of women aged 18-64 who lack it and ensures women have access to essential health care like mammograms and reproductive health care. We should continue these steps for women by reauthorizing the vitally important Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), which provides the main source of federal funding for shelters for victims of domestic violence and their families.
One in five women experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. Each year, 4.5 million physical assaults are committed against women by intimate partners. Domestic violence is only worsened by the stress associated with protracted economic recession, extended unemployment, and dim job prospects. Now is a critical time to be expanding efforts to support services for victims of domestic violence, including shelters.
Originally enacted by Congress in 1984, FVPSA supports more than 2,000 community-based domestic violence shelters nationwide that provide counseling, employment training, preventive health services, legal advocacy, and child care services to victims of domestic violence.
Additionally, the FVPSA, which was reauthorized in 2003 as part of the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act, provides a safe place for victims of domestic violence in times of need and the necessary supports to move on with their lives. However, despite the great work these programs do, they are not meeting the need. To highlight just one example, Women Against Abuse, a primary domestic violence service provider in Philadelphia, had to turn away at least 4,671 victims in 2009.
Congress has increased funding for domestic violence services nearly $8 million since 2008 to $130 million in 2010. However, this modest increase is still far below the need for these services and well below the authorized amount of $175 million. What’s worse, the authorization for these programs expired in 2008.
As you know, H.R. 4116, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) Reauthorization Act of 2009 was referred to the Education and Labor Committee on January 4th, 2010. This bill increases by $75 million the authorization of funds for FVPSA programs and brings more permanence to these programs by reestablishing a set pathway for funding. I call on you to bring this critically important piece of legislation up for a vote in the Education and Labor Committee and clear the pathway to increased federal support for victims of domestic violence.
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.
Former 3-star Admiral Joe Sestak served in the Navy for 31 years and then as the highest ranking military officer ever elected to Congress when he represented Pennsylvania’s Seventh Congressional District from 2007-2010. He commanded an aircraft carrier battle group that conducted operations in Afghanistan and Iraq with 30 U.S. and allied ships and more than 15,000 sailors and 100 aircraft. Prior to that, Joe served as President Clinton’s Director for Defense Policy on the National Security Council and the first Director of the Navy’s anti-terrorism unit after 9/11.
In 2006, Joe defeated a ten-term incumbent in his home District, which was 55 percent Republican. As a member of the Armed Services and Education & Labor Committees, and as Vice Chairman of the Small Business Committee, Joe would have ten pieces of legislation signed into law. In his first term, he was named the most productive member of his freshman class by the Majority Leader’s Office.
Joe ran for U.S. Senate in 2010, bucking the entire Democratic Party leadership because he believed Pennsylvanians deserved a leader who would always put their interests first, even ahead of his party. Against all odds, he rallied from an initial 40 point deficit to win the nomination over a 30-year incumbent. After the primary, Joe continued to run as the candidate with a pragmatic, independent approach in a Senate election decided by only two points in a year when the party lost the governor’s race by 9 points and lost five Pennsylvania Congressional seats by 8 points or more.