Joe Sestak

Essential Pittsburgh / WESA

Former congressman Joe Sestak is running for the U.S. Senate by walking. He's making a 422-mile trek across the state to better connect with Pennsylvanians. Joe Sestak joins us in Studio A for a talk about his plans to challenge Senator Pat Toomey and why the state's Democratic party doesn't want him to run.

Sestak comments on his opponent Senator Pat Toomey's action regarding Iran and the nuclear weapons issue:

"What I saw is the unrivaled respect that the presidency of the United States has as the foremost instrument to secure our freedoms and our security overseas. To actually have had Senator Toomey sign a letter that says disregard our presidency shows reckless abandon of the responsibilities of a Senator, it shows truly no experience in world affairs and it also shows a disregard for the security of America, placing politics above security."

Also in this hour, a Pittsburgh artist's sketches of servicemen are finding their way back home and Louis Ortiz, star of the documentary Bronx Obama and the President's closest doppelganger visits for a screening of the film. 

Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Former U.S. Representative Joe Sestak began a 422-mile walk across Pennsylvania Wednesday to kick off his campaign to capture the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Republican Pat Toomey.

Sestak announced his candidacy for the 2016 election outside Philadelphia's Independence Hall. He called for more government accountability and decried the "trust deficit" between politicians and the people who elect them.

"I want to earn, starting today, step by step, walking in the shoes of we Pennsylvanians, the trust of our people," Sestak said. "So join me. Walk with me."

As Governor Tom Corbett gears up for the release of his 2014-15 budget proposal next month, Pennsylvania Democrats are disparaging cuts to higher education over the course of his tenure.

Total state spending on state-related higher education institutions dropped by 18% in 2011-12, and funding has remained flat since then.

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he won't run for governor next year but is strongly considering a rematch against Republican Sen. Pat Toomey in 2016.

The Democrat told the AP in an interview that the U.S. Senate is racked by a lack of trust and "careening from crisis to crisis." The retired Navy vice admiral said he believes his skills would be more useful in the Senate instead of the governor's office.