Wilson Political Science Department
"The mayor of Chambersburg, Pete Lagiovane, was hosting Congressman Sestak for various events around town. He contacted the Political Science Association about working together because he thought college students would like to hear from him," said Prof. Jill Hummer, Assist. Prof. of Political Science.
On the Economy
The focus of Sestak's speech was about the economy crisis and health care. Talking about economy, Sestak said that, "the long-term strength of our economy must be our number one priority." According to the handout from Sestak's speech, he has championed a four-step plan, namely, stabilize the economy through a bold economic stimulus plan; shore up the housing market through comprehensive actions which curtail foreclosures and decelerate decline in home values; stabilize financial institutions through effective implementations of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and President Obama's Financial Stability Plan; and provide liquidity to markets through Federal Reserve action.
On Health Care
Sestak also asserted that, "our health care system is in need of immediate reform." The reform includes a system with a public plan option, "that ensures affordable, accessible and quality care through a shared responsibility between society and government, while prioritizing disciplined costs and high standards. This involves shifting away from fee-for-service programs; paying providers adequately; giving patients the same choices as Members of Congress, sharing the costs; expanding transitional health tax credits; improving performance in treating chronic disease; and increasing the use of health information technology."
The Q&A Session
The audience asked Sestak many questions that eventually forced him to stay a half-hour longer than scheduled. The questions included his opinions on the foreign policy, education, the Iraqi War, etc. When asked why he chose to come to Wilson, a women's college, Sestak answered, "This is a women's nation… For the first time in U.S. history, there are more employed women than men. How do we take advantage of this goodness?"
"Because people want to believe again"
In the end, a Wilson student asked Sestak if he could say something to those Americans who have lost faith in their government. Sestak answered, "I firmly believe what Kennedy said, "One man [person] can make a difference and every person should try. Leadership matters. Individual has to change, but change should be made down there [D.C.]." The speech ended in Sestak's emotional and hopeful conclusion that, "because people want to believe again."
Chrissy Shick '11 said that she liked how Sestak was focusing on social issues especially on women and children. However, she was "skeptical because he didn't directly answer some questions and pushed aside something that's really important." Hummer commented on Sestak's speech that "Sestak is challenging Arlen Specter in the Democratic Primacy. Since Specter recently switched Parties, it will be interesting to see the outcome of the race, though Specter seems to be well ahead in the polls." Hummer also said that, "this was a unique opportunity for Wilson students to hear from a senatorial candidate."
Sestak is serving his second term as the Representative from Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District, which includes most of Delaware County and parts of Chester and Montgomery Counties. Sestak spent 31 years serving the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of three-star Admiral.