Last night, Rep. Joe Sestak achieved a pivotal victory in Pennsylvania by besting 30-year incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in the state’s Democratic primary. After two previous endorsements for the House of Representatives, the NOW Political Action Committee enthusiastically endorsed Sestak for his Senate run.
“This win demonstrates the strength of Joe Sestak’s message and his commitment to gender equality,” said NOW President and NOW PAC Chair Terry O’Neill. “We are proud of Joe’s leadership, including his sponsorship of legislation to eliminate wage discrimination, broadening business opportunities for women, and ensuring women’s health security.”
Sestak is a strong supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, Roe v. Wade and full rights and privileges for all civil marriages. While in the House, he voted against the ban on gay marriage and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Sestak was one of five representatives in his state to vote against the infamous Stupak-Pitts Amendment, and he was an original co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act as well as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Sestak supports increasing resources available to survivors of domestic violence. He is committed to leading efforts to ensure access to reproductive health care, contraception, and comprehensive sex education. Sestak has co-sponsored many bills that advance women’s health, from the Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act to the Mammogram and MRI Availability Act of 2009. He champions small business lending programs for women and introduced multiple bills supporting women entrepreneurs.
Voters rejected longtime legislator Specter in favor of Sestak. A recent addition to the Democratic Party, Specter attacked Anita Hill when she alleged that Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her, and he went on to vote to confirm Thomas as well as all of George W. Bush’s judicial nominees. Specter also voted against Elena Kagan for solicitor general.
In the general election Sestak will face the extremely conservative Republican Pat Toomey.
“We need Joe Sestak’s voice in the Senate,” said O’Neill. “He is a true champion for women and girls, and NOW PAC will continue to work toward securing a big win in November.”