Joe Sestak is a former congressman and Navy admiral who narrowly lost last year's U.S. Senate race to Republican Pat Toomey. He'll be speaking at the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit, to be held Jan. 22-23 at the Sheraton Station Square.
What message will you be delivering at the summit?
That [progressives] have to go to places like Elk County and reach out to the people with NRA stickers on their windows. You might not always agree, but we have to talk to people and reach a principled compromise.
So, you don't think progressives do a good job of getting their message out?
Look at health care. We did a horrible job of explaining that. I think the movement is spending a lot of time talking to themselves. We have to be able to communicate and listen to what other people have to say.
If you could have beaten Pat Toomey by opposing health-care reform, would you have changed your vote?
My daughter was very ill and received top-notch health care through my military service. I ran because I believe that every American deserves that same care. You have to make the tough decisions, even if it means you lose your job. If I lost my job over that vote, then so be it, but I'd never take [the vote] back.
Do you think the GOP will get much accomplished now that they control the U.S. House?
As long as our legislators have the Hatfield-and-McCoy mentality of "I must win and you must lose," we're going to remain stalled.