Senator Casey visits DelVal

Feb 08, 2011

By Annmarie Ely

The day before he watched the Super Bowl at The White House with President Obama, Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., stopped by DelVal for a visit.

Key members of the college and the Doylestown community greeted the Pennsylvania senator in the Krauskopf Library. It was a cordial, informal session that did not involve politics or campaigning. A native of Scranton and the son of former Gov. Robert Casey Sr., the senator mingled with individual guests then addressed the group of about 40 and took questions.


He was introduced by college President Joseph S. Brosnan, who pointed out that both he and the senator have Catholic educations, and that Casey started his career as a teacher.

“Not only is he well educated, he was also an educator,” Dr. Brosnan said.

Casey went on to practice law but his first job was teaching fifth grade in inner city Philadelphia for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

Knowing that DelVal intends to build a life sciences center, the senator lauded the plan as a good investment in the nation’s future. The life sciences, he said, are curing diseases and creating jobs.

On education in general, Casey said that his commitment “goes from early childhood to higher education.”

The senator said a lot of important decisions related to education are happening right now. Reviewing and revising No Child Left Behind was one of the tasks Casey mentioned.

He said the country needs to make a stronger commitment to early childhood education to compete on global level with countries like India and China.

The senator made it clear that even in a time of tight budgets, education must remain a priority.

“It is very easy to talk about cuts,” said Casey. “If cutting means you’re going to cut 70,000 to 75,000 teachers, I’m not sure that makes sense. Cuts have consequences.”

Casey also talked about his experience during President Obama’s State of the Union address.  Democrats and Republicans were asked to sit together to symbolize efforts to work together.

Casey, Pennsylvania’s senior senator, paired up with Republican Pat Toomey, the state’s junior senator. But their efforts at bipartisanship failed when the House floor quickly filled up and the two were unable to find seats together.

Casey said getting to know people on a personal level is key to working together.

“Working together is not like two robots meeting,” said Casey. “You’ll work together if you know something about each other.”

Casey mentioned the recent drop in unemployment, but said the nation still needs to add jobs.

“We’re still climbing out of the ditch,” he said. He sees the nation as recovering, but with a long way to go,  which is “another reason we need to work together.”

On the turmoil in Egypt, Casey said that it had been a “horrific couple of days,” but that “we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel.”

He said he hopes for an orderly transition that will do everything possible to keep extremism out.

On Afghanistan and Pakistan Casey said, “We have to get it right,” but that funding for such conflicts is running out.

One guest, Doylestown Township Supervisor Barbara Lyons, gave Casey a break from tough questions and asked, “What do you like to do when you’re not a senator?”

Casey, it turns out, has recently developed an interest in Pennsylvania history from about 1790 to The Civil War. One lesson he learned: “Nothing has changed about politics or human nature.”

He also said he was looking forward to spending time with his family and heading to The White House for The Super Bowl with his daughters.