Joe Sestak

Joe Sestak

name =Joe Sestak

date of birth= birth date and age|1951|12|12
place of birth= Secane, Pennsylvania
state = Pennsylvania
district = 7th
term_start = January 4 2007
preceded = Curt Weldon
succeeded = Incumbent
party = Democrat
religion = Roman Catholic
spouse = Susan L. Clark
residence= Springfield, Pennsylvania
alma_mater= US Naval Academy, Harvard University
occupation= naval admiral

Joseph A. "Joe" Sestak, Jr. (born December 12 1951) is a retired United States Navy Vice admiral (United States)and is the Congressman for the U.S. House of Representatives in ushr|Pennsylvania|7 ( [] ). He is a Democrat and the highest-ranking former military officer to serve in Congress. [ [ Reuters: Highest Ranking Veteran in Congress Calls for Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'] ]


Sestak was born in Secane, Pennsylvania and graduated from Cardinal O'Hara High School in nearby Springfield, Pennsylvania. His grandfather, Martin, came to America from the village of Dolné Lovčice in Slovakia in 1922, after World War I, while his father Joseph (age 3), was sent to America in 1924 to join Martin. Sestak's father graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1942, and then fought in both the Atlantic and the Pacific during World War II. Following in his father's footsteps, Sestak graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in American Political Systems.VADM Joseph Sestak, USN Ret., Officer Bio File, United States Navy Operational Archives, U.S. Naval Historical Center, Washington Navy Yard, DC.] Between tours at sea, Sestak earned a master's degree in Public Administration and a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University in 1980 and 1984 respectively. [ [ Post.Harvard: An Online Community for Harvard Alumni ] ]

Sestak is married to the former Susan L. Clark and they have a daughter, Alexandra.

Naval career

Infobox Military Person
name=Joseph Sestak
placeofbirth= Secane, Pennsylvania

allegiance= United States of America
branch= United States Navy
serviceyears= 1974–2005
rank= Vice Admiral (retired as Rear Admiral)
commands= Director of Navy Operations Group
awards= Defense Distinguished Service Medal (3) Navy Distinguished Service Medal (2) Legion of Merit (2) Meritorious Service Medal (2) Joint Service Commendation Medal
laterwork=U.S. Congress
As a surface warfare officer, Sestak served division officer tours as damage control assistant, combat information center officer and weapons officer on the guided missile destroyer USS "Richard E. Byrd", and then was weapons officer on the guided missile destroyer USS "Hoel". He then served as aide and flag lieutenant to the admiral in charge of United States Navy surface forces in the Pacific.

In January 1986, Sestak became executive officer of the guided missile frigate USS "Underwood". He then served in the Politico-Military Assessment Division of the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On August 30 1991, Sestak took command of the guided missile frigate USS "Samuel B. Roberts", which was named the Atlantic Fleet's best surface combatant in the 1993 Battenberg Cup competition.

In July 1993 , Sestak became the head of the Strategy and Concepts Branch in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations. From November 1994 to March 1997, he was the Director for Defense Policy on the National Security Council staff at the White House, where he was responsible for national security and defense strategy, policies, programs, inter-agency and congressional coordination and regional political-military advice. In May 1997, he became the commander of Destroyer Squadron 14.Sestak then directed the CNO's Strategy and Policy Division (N51), and led the Navy's efforts toward the 2000 Quadrennial Defense Review, for which he analyzed the economic value of U.S. defense spending. After September 11th, he became the first director of the Navy Operations Group (Deep Blue), which sought to redefine strategic, operational and budgetary policies in the Global War on Terrorism. He reported directly to chief of naval operations Vern Clark as policy adviser and administrator. Sestak told "The Hill" that as the designated policy adviser and administrator to Clark, it was his job to revamp the Navy, a process that necessarily ruffled feathers. “Change is very challenging,” Sestak said. “It did not sit well with a lot of people...I worked hard, and I did not ask anyone to work harder than me." []

In the summer of 2005, Sestak was administratively reassigned from his position as DCNO. His removal was one of the first "changes" made by Adm. Michael Mullen when he took over as Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) in July, according to "Navy Times".

Sestak's decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit awards, two Meritorious Service Medals, Joint Service Commendation Medal, three Navy Commendation Medals and the Navy Achievement Medal. [ [ Rear Admiral Joseph A. Sestak, Jr.] ]

However, because Sestak left the Navy before he had been a Vice Admiral long enough to be able to retire at that rank, he actually retired at the lower rank of a two star Rear Admiral.William Bender, [ "Weldon challenger goes from defense to offense"] , "Delaware County Daily Times", March 6, 2006]

Congressional campaigns


In 2006, Sestak challenged ten-term incumbent Curt Weldon in a race for the 7th district Congressional seat. Sestak proved a capable fund-raiser. In the second quarter of 2006, he raised $704,000 to Weldon's $692,000; in the third, $1.14 million to $912,000. As of September 30 2006, Sestak had $1.53 million cash on hand, while Weldon had $1.12 million in the bank after making a $500,000 TV ad buy that had not started as of the close of the third quarter. [Source: Delaware County Daily Times, Oct 4, 2006 [] ] Sestak received campaign funds from famed people around the world, including performer Jimmy Buffett, the Clintons, and many Naval officers.

On October 6 2006, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report re-rated the race from "Lean Republican" to "Toss Up." [] A poll released in late September 2006 showed Sestak and Weldon locked in a statistical dead heat. Sestak led Weldon 44-43 among likely voters in a Franklin & Marshall College Keystone Poll released September 29. The poll also found that 49 percent of registered voters in the district felt it was time for change in the district and only 37 percent said Weldon deserved re-election. [] The poll numbers suggest Sestak had seriously eroded Weldon's previous lead; a poll conducted in April 2006 by the pro-Democratic Party organization Democracy Corps had Weldon leading 51 to 41 percent. An October 8–10 survey by nonpartisan pollster Constituent Dynamics put Sestak ahead 51-44. [ [ Majority Watch ] ] On October 13 2006, CQPolitics changed their rating on the race, from "Leans Republican" to "No Clear Favorite." [] Sestak was elected on November 7 2006, defeating Weldon by a 14-point margin (57-43), becoming only the second Democrat to represent the Delaware County-based district and its various permutations since the Civil War.


In 2008, Sestak will face Republican nominee Craig Williams, an Iraq War veteran and attorney.

Congressional career

Sestak is vice-chairman of the Small Business Committee. He is also a member of the Education and Labor and Armed Services committees. To date, he is the highest-ranking military officer ever to serve in Congress.

He is being challenged by former U.S. Marine W. Craig Williams for his first election as the incumbent Representative.

On April 22, 2008, he was interviewed as part of the Colbert Report's Better Know A District series. He said that he supports Senator Hillary Clinton for president, "because she has watched and observed the proper use of military force, not as the first step, like the Bush administration did; they walk, they clobber things with a big stick, and then we have to deal with the mess they've given us." When asked if he ever felt like a mushroom, Sestak joked, "Sometimes I feel as though my staff keeps me in the dark and feeds me ...", a reference to the use of compost in mushroom production. [cite web|url=|title=Better Know a District - Pennsylvania's 7th - Joe Sestak|publisher=Colbert Report|date=2008-04-22|accessdate=2008-04-27]

Although Sestak endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton for president in the 2008 Democratic primaries, he endorsed Barack Obama for the general election after the suspension of Clinton's campaign. [ [ Congressman Joe Sestak's (PA-07) Endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces] ]


Sestak was criticized by Americans Against Hate for accepting an invitation to speak at a fundraiser for CAIR. Republican activist Joe Kaufman, chairman of Americans Against Hate, said, "The congressman should be working to shut down this organization for its ties to Hamas."William Bender, [ "Sestak takes heat over appearance at CAIR banquet"] , "Delaware County Times", March 2, 2007]

Sestak has also "developed a reputation for being a temperamental and demanding boss" due to reports that thirteen staffers have quit his employment in 2007. Aides are purportedly expected to work seven days a week, including holidays, for 14 hours a day. Sestak justifies these hours, which are considered long even by the standards of Capitol Hill, by presuming to instill a military-minded "toughness" in his civilian staff.Jonathan E. Kaplan, [ "Rep. Sestak’s staffers keep jumping ship"] , "The Hill", September 4, 2007]

ee also


External links

* [ Congressman Joe Sestak] official U.S. House website
* [ Joe Sestak For Congress] official campaign website
* [ Profile] at SourceWatch Congresspedia
* [ Biography] at United States Navy

* [ PA-7 Watch — Blog about the 2006 PA-7 Congressional race]
* [ "GOP's Financial Edge Shrinks — Challengers Gain On Incumbents"] "The Washington Post", August 20, 2006
* [ "Sestak's command raises questions"] "Times Herald", April 1, 2006
* [ "War Vs. More War for Congress"] "The Washington Post", February 13, 2006
* [ campaign photograph of Sestak]
* [ family photograph of Sestak]
* [ Joe Sestak's Interview with The Young Turks.]

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