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Representative Patrick Murphy, talked about his Congressional campaign and his accomplishments at a meeting of the Penn Dems.

Referring to his votes on energy legislation and health care, Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) exclaimed, “I am proud of those votes.”

In a meeting hosted by the Penn Democrats Thursday night in Huntsman Hall, Murphy answered questions on topics ranging from his reelection campaign to his positions on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, health care and climate change.

As the first Iraq War veteran to serve in Congress, Murphy explained that he is leading the charge for repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this year, a policy that he views not as a “peripheral issue” but central to U.S. national security.

“We have a great relationship with Congressman Patrick Murphy,” said Penn Democrats President and College sophomore Emma Ellman-Golan. “We knocked on nearly 15,000 doors for the Congressman in 2006,” Golan added, “and he won by just over 1,500 votes.”

The Cook Political Report lists Murphy’s seat, PA-08, as “leaning Democratic,” meaning that Democrats might have a slight advantage in a still competitive race.

Nevertheless, with an energized Republican base eager to unseat Democrats in 2010, Murphy recognized the tough reelection battle he faces in November. He will be up against Republican opponent Mike Fitzpatrick in the fall, the same Republican he faced in the 2006 election that first sent him to Washington.

The goal of Thursday’s event, College senior Michael Abboud explained, was to get Penn students energized for the upcoming 2010 election as well.

For some of the attendees, the event did just that, including for College junior Grant Dubler. “I really admire his political courage,” Dubler stated. “There are not many politicians in Washington that have the courage to take a stand for the things they believe in.”

Taking questions from the audience, the Congressman also expressed confidence in several aspects of the Obama Administration’s Afghanistan strategy, referring specifically to both improved intelligence from the Pakistanis and alternative livelihood programs that have reduced opium production.

Murphy said he hopes more Penn students will be inspired to work on one of the most competitive 2010 races and volunteer for his reelection campaign.

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