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Joe Sestak walks campaign trail to Pitt

By Nerine Sivagnanam / Staff Writer

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Joe Sestak is walking in Pennsylvanians’ shoes on the campaign trail — literally.

As part of his campaign for the U.S. Senate, Sestak is walking across Pennsylvania and making stops in several towns and cities along the way. Sestak arrived in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night and made several stops Thursday, including Zeke’s Coffee in Shadyside in the morning and the Cathedral of Learning at night. About 20 students gathered to hear him speak in room 213.

Sestak, a Democrat who represented Pennsylvania’s seventh district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2010, is now campaigning for nomination to run against current Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2016. 

Sestak previously ran against Toomey, a Republican, for a Senate seat in 2010, but lost. If Sestak wins the nomination, his race will be the first Senate rematch in Pennsylvania history. Sestak began walking across the state earlier this month and has made stops in Harrisburg, Carlisle and Johnstown. 

Sestak decided to take the walk across the state, he said, to build trust between him and his constituents. 

“I think the biggest deficit today is a trust deficit,” Sestak said Thursday night. “I honestly believe this might be a way of saying to people, ‘I’m more than willing to walk in your shoes and earn your trust.’ If I understand your concerns, when I get to Washington, D.C., I’ll continue to walk in your shoes.”

The event was organized by Charlotte Goldbach, a freshman political science major.

“I’ve been interning for Admiral Sestak for four months, and I want to work for political campaigns when I graduate,” Goldbach said. “I thought it would be cool to have him speak at Pitt, and [within] 48 hours, he was here speaking to a room of 20 people.”

Sestak spoke about health care, foreign affairs, the environment and higher education to the students gathered. 

Chantelle Farley, freshman environmental studies and anthropology major, said she came to the event because she was uninformed.

“As a young American citizen, it’s definitely beneficial for youth to know each candidate’s platform,” Farley said. 

In addition to speaking about political issues, Sestak discussed his years teaching and how much he learned from students.

“People miss the point of your generation,” Sestak said. “Your generation is the one that will really make America do something.”

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Joe Sestak walks campaign trail to Pitt