Editorial | Midterm picks
Joe Sestak and Dan Onorato have positions on policies that are most beneficial for students
November 1, 2010, 4:32 am · Updated November 1, 2010, 12:00 am·
Tuesday, voters will head to the polls to cast their ballots in races that will shape the direction of the federal and state governments. In Pennsylvania, the two most prominent races are for governor and U.S. senator. For students, we feel Joe Sestak is the best choice for Senate and Dan Onorato is the best choice for governor.
U.S. Senate: Joe Sestak
U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) has a track record of backing policies that are in the best interest of students. He voted for the recent health care reform, which guarantees that children can stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. He supported increasing Pell Grant maximums and cutting the middleman out of the federal student loan process. He was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would help undocumented students. And he supports many policies in favor of gay rights that could help advance tolerance.
Sestak’s Republican opponent, former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey, has valuable experience running a small business, and we appreciate his commitment to economic issues. However, his interest in repealing health care reform and his more conservative stances on social issues are causes for concern.
Although we endorsed Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary, we enthusiastically support Sestak in the general election. We backed Specter in the primary because he was experienced and willing to reach across the aisle, but Sestak has demonstrated these qualities as well.
Pennsylvania Governor: Dan Onorato
The Democratic nominee, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, and the Republican candidate, State Attorney General Tom Corbett, have both had some impressive accomplishments in their current jobs. The two candidates also have similarities in their stances on fiscal issues. But on issues where the two candidates don’t align, Onorato’s ideas are more likely to benefit students.
One key policy area where this is the case is K-through-12 education. Onorato is committed to state education funding and plans to work to improve the quality of public elementary and secondary schools. These improvements can then lead to more students obtaining the background necessary to attend college and get better jobs. Corbett, on the other hand, said he may cut state education funding and places more value on school choice as a way to improve education. An emphasis on school choice is problematic because such programs have shown in the past not to make much of a difference.
Onorato’s stances on other social issues are also in the best interest of students and Pennsylvanians. He supports maintaining the state’s current abortion laws, while Corbett favors making the state’s abortion laws more restrictive. Onorato’s positions on these types of laws, combined with his past experience, cause us to give him our support.