Casey hints of campaign during appearance - PittsburghLIVE.com: "Casey hints of campaign during appearance
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By Paul Peirce
Monday, October 31, 2005
Although the 2006 general election is more than a year away, Westmoreland County Democrats on Sunday got an advance taste of the much-anticipated U.S. Senate race ahead.
State Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr., who is expected to challenge U.S. Republican Sen. Rick Santorum next year, lambasted the two-term incumbent as an "arrogant" politician who has grown out of touch with the concerns of average Pennsylvanians.
"What the other guy (Santorum) has done is push his own narrow ideology over the everyday concerns of Pennsylvanians. I intend to focus on issues important to Pennsylvanians ... not promote an ideology ... fueled by arrogance, and political partisanship," Casey said.
Casey told more than 300 county Democrats attending the local committee's fall banquet at Four Points Hotel by Sheraton in Hempfield Township that they can send a message to the nation next year that citizens are "sick and tired of partisan political extremism" by supporting his campaign for Senate.
The race is expected to be among the most closely watched in the nation and that was evident yesterday. A handful of protesters along the driveway leading up to the hotel held placards promoting Santorum's candidacy even though the election is more than 365 days away.
Casey pointed to his nine-year record in state office, first as state auditor general and most recently as treasurer, as an indication that he will focus on matters important to state residents. He said voters are ready to elect a senator who holds himself "personally responsible" for decisions and not afraid to ask the tough questions.
Among his first priorities, Casey said, will be curbing the rising cost of health care. He said staggering increases in health care are stifling business development statewide and throughout the country.
He also complained that the Republican administration has turned "record surpluses" under the Clinton administration into deficits.
Casey complained that despite the enormous amount of spending for hurricane relief and the war in Iraq, Republicans, including Santorum, "are unwilling to roll back the tax cuts they enacted for the top 1 percent" to help pay those costs.
He said it is time that Washington Republicans take a lesson "from the American soldiers fighting in Iraq with valor, and all of us roll up our sleeves ... working together ... we have an obligation."
Casey also pledged to "stand up for people who don't have a voice."
He complained that Santorum refuses to question the administration, even about the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response after Hurricane Katrina.
"Here's hundreds of thousands of our own people ... helpless, abandoned by their own federal government, and we hear nothing from our senator. Rick Santorum had a chance to say something, but the only thing he bothered to say is maybe there should be tougher penalties for those who choose to ride out the storms," Casey said.
After speaking in Hempfield, Casey, the son of the late Gov. Robert P. Casey, traveled to speak at the Washington County Democrats' fall banquet.
Paul Peirce can be reached at email@example.com or (724) 850-2860."