Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Bob Casey, Jr., a Democrat, is running
for the U.S. Senate in 2006 against incumbent Republican Senator Rick Santorum.
Casey is a graduate of The College of the Holy Cross (1982) and received
his law degree from Catholic University in 1988 before entering the practice
of law in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Casey was elected Auditor General of Pennsylvania
in 1996 and re-elected in 2000. In 2002, he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic
nomination for governor. In 2004, he was elected State Treasurer, winning
more votes than any other candidate for any state or federal office in the
history of the Commonwealth. Casey is the eldest son of the late Governor
Robert P. Casey and his wife, Ellen. For more about Casey and his campaign,
visit his website,
Valerie Schmalz of IgnatiusInsight.com recently interviewed Casey and asked
him about his campaign, his views on life issues, and how he differs philosophically
and politically from Sen. Santorum.
IgnatiusInsight.com: What do you think are the top three issues facing this
Bob Casey, Jr.: Not necessarily in any order, some of the top issues
are: health care; security; and ensuring our children receive a good education
and that we have a highly trained workforce.
IgnatiusInsight.com: You are described as a pro-life Democrat. Would you
explain your stance on the death penalty, abortion, and embryonic stem
cell research and human cloning? How would you vote if the Castle
bill came to you in the Senate? [Editor's note: The Castle bill would allow
embryonic stem cell research on so-called "left over" embryos
from in-vitro fertilization clinics. It was approved 238 to 194 by
the House of Representatives on May 24, 2005. Its formal name is The Stem
Cell Research Enhancement Act. It was sponsored by Delaware Republican Rep.
Mike Castle and in the Senate is sponsored by Pennsylvania Republican Sen.
Arlen Specter and Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.] How do your positions
differ from those of your opponent?
Casey: I believe that being pro-life means the right to a decent life
for a mother and her child before and after birth.
I am and I have always been pro-life.
I support the current federal policy on embryonic stem cell research and
would oppose the Castle bill to expand federal support of embryonic stem
cell research. I believe that the death penalty is an appropriate
punishment for those who have committed heinous crimes.
As a U.S. Senator, I will strongly support funding for stem cell research
that doesnt destroy an embryo. There are many promising techniques
under development that dont require destroying the embryo and theres
good reason to hope that soon well be able to remove the politics
from this issue.
I also strongly support increased federal funding for research on stem cells
derived from adult cells, bone marrow and placentas areas where tremendous
progress has already been made.
IgnatiusInsight.com: As the son of a famous pro-life Democrat, the late
Gov. Robert Casey, can you remark on how your father influenced you as a
politician? How do your wife and children influence your approach to politics?
Casey: The most important lesson I learned from my father was the unconditional
love he had for my mother, his eight children, and his grandchildren.
As a candidate and a public official, he taught me and many other Pennsylvanians
that public service was a trust and that trust must be earned every day
as a public official.
He also said "the most important quality a person can bring to political
office is a passion for justice and a sense of outrage in the face of injustice."
My wife Terese and our four daughters influence me every day in the most
profound way by their love and support for me.
IgnatiusInsight.com: As a Catholic, does your faith shape your positions
and actions? If so, in what ways?
Casey: Yes. My Catholic faith and the values reflected in that faith
have always had a profound impact on me as a person and as a public official.
I try to live up to the teachings of my faith in my personal life and in
my public life.
IgnatiusInsight.com: Sen. Santorum has criticized you for your support of
the judicial filibuster that he says is used solely to enforce compliance
with Roe v. Wade. Could you comment on that?
Casey: The filibuster is one of the only mechanisms available in the
Senate that forces more bipartisanship. We need more common ground
and cooperation in Washington. My opponent has filibustered Democratic
nominees. Hes trying to have it both ways.
IgnatiusInsight.com: You are supported by the national Democratic Party
and Howard Dean. Dean, who is backed enthusiastically by such groups
as NARAL, is promoting your candidacy. Why?
Casey: Leaders in the Democratic Party as well as voters in both parties
are supporting me in this campaign for a variety of reasons: I have a strong
record as Auditor General and State Treasurer of being a tough and independent
fiscal watchdog and an advocate for children and older Pennsylvanians.
When I was elected Treasurer, I received more votes than any candidate in
As a pro-life Democrat, I have a different position on abortion than many
national elected officials and thats why an organization like NARAL
wont support me in the campaign.
As Ive talked to people across Pennsylvania, they agree with me that
we need to change the direction that Washington is headed. For example,
health care should be a major priority in the Senate and not enough is being
IgnatiusInsight.com: Why did you choose to challenge Rick Santorum rather
than Arlen Specter?
Casey: I grew increasingly concerned about the direction of the current
leadership in Washington. I am concerned about the increasing deficits,
the budget cuts for vital services, the threats to dismantle Social Security,
and failure to address the cost of health care. And we need to change
the viciousness and divisive partisan politics that is overwhelming Washington.
I was also moved by the messages I received from around Pennsylvania encouraging
me to run for the Senate. Some of the first people to contact me about
the race were young people and Pennsylvanians from all walks of life who
want a change in Washington.
IgnatiusInsight.com: How would you say you are different from Rick Santorum
and why should the people of Pennsylvania support you?
Casey: There are a number of fundamental differences between my opponent
and myself. He has spent his time in Washington focused on partisanship
and the special interests. I want to return the focus to the needs
We need to focus on the common values that bring people in Pennsylvania
together and on Pennsylvania priorities.