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Joe Sestak

Democrat

• Age at Inauguration: 69
• Experience: U.S. Navy (1974-2005); U.S. House of Representatives - Pennsylvania (2007-2011)
• Education: United States Naval Academy (BS), Harvard University (MPA, PhD)
• Interesting Fact: Sestak was the highest ranking military officer (3-star admiral) ever elected to Congress at the time

Key Platform Points

• Increase government accountability
• Primary focuses are climate change, China, and corporate power

Economy and Taxes

• Expand investment in infrastructure by $1 trillion over 10 years
• Proposes the creation of a national infrastructure bank for loans and credit support for public-private partnerships
• Create tax incentives to encourage angel investors and venture capital groups to invest in entrepreneurs
• Increase the maximum SBA (Small Business Administration) loan guarantee for rural communities
• 2% loan guarantee fee on small SBA loans
• Expand support for women and veterans who own a small business or wish to start one
• Rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership while improving the agreement by putting less emphasis on corporations and more on people
• Raise the estate tax rate to 45 percent and lower the exemption to $3.5 million for the 400 wealthiest families in the country
• Repeal the tariffs the Trump administration has imposed on goods from China

Corporations

• Raise corporate taxes, but keep rates lower than before the 2017 rate of 35%
• Make it illegal for politicians to take contributions from lobbyists
• Ban lobbyist "bundling," combining several small individual campaign contributions into one large contribution
• Increase transparency requirements for PACs
• Mandate that businesses with over 500 employees cover 100% of the costs of public assistance which the government spends on their workers
• Develop appropriate regulations of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence
• Reinstate Net Neutrality

Criminal Justice and Drugs

• Ensure prisons improve access to addiction treatment, including all available medications
• Rework states' Medicaid programs to increase reimbursements paid to providers of addiction treatment services
• Increase funding for addiction care training programs
• Permit research into the potential of certain psychedelic drugs to treat substance abuse and mental health

Education

• Create universal pre-K for all 4-year-olds
• Supports state-led efforts like Common Core to create unified benchmarks
• Provide states with grants to support tuition at community colleges and public universities
• Commit our country to profit-free student loans
• Expand existing student debt-relief programs
• Make government loan money to colleges and universities contingent upon them keeping tuition increases at or below the level of inflation
• Establish a national credit transfer system among accredited colleges
• "Training for a Lifetime" plan which improves access to workforce training by investing more in state and local training programs and developing a national apprenticeship program for one-on-one training

Environment

• Supports the Green New Deal
• Rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement
• Stop subsidies to the fossil fuel industry
• Encourage the development of wind, solar, and other renewable energy technologies with tax credits
• Impose a fee for carbon polluters, with proceeds returned to all Americans as a dividend and also devoted to research & development in renewable energy
• Phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which evaporate as a greenhouse gas 1000 times more potent than CO2
• Give the EPA full authority to regulate substances (like HFCs) that contribute to global warming
• Establish a permanent moratorium on all future offshore drilling and Arctic drilling
• Renew our commitment to fighting deforestation, habitat destruction, and illegal poaching of endangered species around the world
• Re-prioritize funding of the agricultural industry to focus on supporting small family farms and larger farms willing to transition to sustainable practices, or already employing them

Foreign Policy

• Rejoin the Iran nuclear deal
• Stand up to countries including Russia, China, and North Korea on the world stage
• Repair relationships with our closest allies

Government Reform

• End gerrymandering with independent redistricting commissions
• Prevent members of Congress from converting their access and professional networks into lucrative jobs

Gun Control

• Ban military-style assault weapons
• Ban high-capacity magazines
• End the "gun show loophole"
• End the "gun kit" or "ghost gun" loopholes (which allows people to buy portions of guns to assemble into functioning firearms)
• Create a more effective national background check system by enabling states to add felons, domestic abusers, and other violent criminals to the background check database

Health Care

• Doesn't support Medicare for All
• Proposes a trial period in which Americans would have three options for receiving care:
• The first option would be to join a government-sponsored plan like the VHA; doctors in this system would be employed by the federal government
• The second option would be to enroll in a public option based on Medicare
• The final option would be to stay on a private insurance plan
• After four years, either the first or second option would be chosen as the primary care method, eliminating the option that performed worse in the trial
• Private insurance would not be abolished
• Restore the Affordable Care Act
• Pass family and medical leave legislation
• Supports importing drugs from Canada
• Supports giving the federal government the ability to negotiate drug prices for Medicare
• Make mental health and substance abuse treatment more widely covered by insurance plans
• Fix the shortage of nurses and doctors, particularly primary care physicians
• Increase funding to fight diseases of the elderly, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and cancer

Immigration

• Create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants willing to pay back taxes, pass background checks, prove stable employment, and pass a basic English language test
• Supports a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers brought to the U.S. as children
• Change crossing the border from a criminal offense to a civil offense
• End the practice of separating children from their parents or guardians at the Southern border
• Grant all immigrants and asylum-seekers the right to an attorney
• Secure the border with technology such as drones and sensors, and construct fencing where needed and appropriate
• Supports wall funding if experts recommend it
• Increase guest worker visas and oversight of guest worker programs
• Hold Central American officials accountable for seeing that our funds are spent effectively to reduce the flow of asylum seekers

LGBTQ+ Rights

• Supports same-sex marriage
• Support all of our military service members, including LGBTQ+ heroes
• Lift the ban preventing transgender people from serving in the military

National Security & Veterans Affairs

• Supports same-sex marriage
• Support all of our military service members, including LGBTQ+ heroes
• Lift the ban preventing transgender people from serving in the military

Social Security & Welfare

• Protect Social Security and increase today's contribution cap of $132,900
• Increase funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and its anti-homelessness programs
• Increase funding for SNAP (food stamps)
• Subsidize daycare for low to middle-income families

Women's Rights

• Pro-choice stance
• Open to limiting abortions in cases where the fetus would likely survive outside of the womb
• Supports the Paycheck Fairness Act
• Provide access to safe and affordable reproductive health care
• Supports legislation to fight domestic abuse, sexual violence, and human trafficking

Children

• Economic:
• Health:
• Education:
• Criminal Justice Reform:
• Environment: