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Eagleton Institute of Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics


Arthur J. Holland Program on Ethics in Government

2012-2013 Holland Lecture -Leadership for a Better America

Joe Sestak with Cynthia and Matt Holland      Cynthia Holland and Matt Holland
      (Eagleton '94)¬†with Joe Sestak.

Former Congressman Joe Sestak presented the Holland Lecture, addressing "Leadership for a Better America." Speaking to students in Eagleton Assistant Research Professor Dave Andersen's American government course as well as a broader community audience, Sestak emphasized the need for accountability in government, stressing that leaders should take responsibility for deeds and outcomes, not just intentions.

Sestak with students
      Congressman Sestak poses with Eagleton

  Short Bio of Joe Sestak

Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Joe Sestak graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served 31 years in the U.S. Navy, attaining the rank of 3-star Admiral. He led a series of operational commands at sea, culminating in command of the GEORGE WASHINGTON Aircraft Carrier Battle Group during combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He served as President Clinton's Director for Defense Policy in the National Security Council; as head of "Deep Blue", the Navy anti-terrorism unit focused on the "Global War on Terrorism"; and as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, overseeing the Navy's five year $350 billion warfare budget. 

After the Navy, Sestak was elected to Congress from Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District in 2007, where he served until 2010, when he ran for the U.S. Senate. Usually identified as a centrist, he served on the Armed Services Committee, the Education and Labor Committee, and as Vice Chairman of the Small Business Committee.

While in the Navy, Sestak received a masters in public administration and a PhD in political economy and government from Harvard University. Married to Susan and father to Alex, he resides in Edgmont, Pennsylvania.