Joseph A. Sestak Jr.

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Joseph A. Sestak is the Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania's 7th District, defeating Curt Weldon (see Pennsylvania U.S. House election, 2006). He was one of the Fighting Dems. He won because of popular anger over the Republican War in Iraq and successful fundraising. In assessing his and his fellow Democrat's victories in the midterm Congressional elections, Sestak said, "I honestly believe this nation in its vote has said, 'What are we doing in Iraq? We can't stay there.' I think they are rightfully leading the leaders to say, 'Set a date; move toward it.'" Source: Robin Toner & Kate Zernike. "For Incoming Democrats, Populism Trumps Ideology." The New York Times. November 12, 2006. A22. On April 4, 2006 Sestak announced that he had raised $420,000 in his first 60 days; in contrast, the last four Democratic challengers in the district raised $65,700 combined.

On August 4, 2009, Sestak announced his candidacy for the seat in the United States Senate held by Arlen Specter, whom he challenged for the Democratic nomination. Sestak defeated Specter in the May 18, 2010 Pennsylvania primary, and will face Republican nominee Pat Toomey in the general election.


Sestak was born in Springfield, Pennsylvania on December 12, 1951. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in American Political Systems. He received a Master's Degree in Public Administration and a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Sestak took command of the USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG 58) on 30 August 1991. In 1993, SAMUEL B. ROBERTS was named the best overall surface ship in the Atlantic Fleet in the Battenberg Cup selection. From November 1994 to March 1997, he was the Director for Defense Policy on the National Security Council staff at the White House. Rear Admiral Sestak's personal decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Gold Star, Meritorious Service Medal with a Gold Star, Joint Service Commendation medal, Navy Commendation medal with two Gold Stars and the Navy Achievement Medal.

Sestak is married to the former Susan L. Clark Source. One of their young children recently faced a life-threatening illness and fortunately she has recovered. However Sestak's opportunistic Republican opponent attempted to use this Sestak family crisis to score political points and criticized him for going to a hospital in D.C., instead of Philadelphia.

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