09/18/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

More than a Date to the Prom

This past weekend at Netroots Nation was a blast. I got a chance to shake hands, walk around with and sit down with so many bloggers, community members and netroots activists from across the country -- Fire Dog Lake, AmericaBlog, DailyKos, Huffington Post, Democracy for America, and so many others. They care so deeply about the future of our country and help give progressive voice to the national debate.

Susie Madrak and Ari Melber moderated a great forum. As a 31-year Navy Veteran myself, I was so glad to get the chance to speak out for all the men and women who have served our country in uniform, but are being forced out of our military because of their sexual orientation. It's time to stop asking and start telling Washington that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" must end. You can catch the clip on YouTube.

I also hosted a breakout session and, not surprisingly, the hottest topic was health care. I actually held the first "town hall" on health care after the Congressional recess as part of my Working Families Summit. Today, I held another one at the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service and Education Center. There was another one last week, too, hosted by Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia. The place was packed - almost 1,000 people turned out - with a line around the block. I said I'd stay to address all the questions at 6:30 that night and the conversation continued through midnight.

We have taken the lead on health care and the feedback has been tremendous.

I'd also like to thank all of the bloggers who supported me in the straw poll, and, by the way, nice Sestak shirts -- they read "Loyal to Change. Loyal to PA."

It was great to see so many progressive Veterans from VoteVets at Netroots Nation. I'm proud to have their support and I'm proud of my record supporting them. Our veterans deserve more folks in Washington who are looking out for them. That's why I will be hosting two Veterans forums, back to back in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, this Monday.

Susie Madrak also highlighted the importance of making sure that the progressive netroots have more than just a date to the prom, but a partner after elections are over. Too many politicians get to Washington and turn their backs on those who got them there for the sake of pandering to the political establishment.

I'm looking for more than just a date to the prom. I'm looking for a progressive partner in the blogosphere both during and after the campaign. When I faced a strong Republican opponent in a heavily Republican district, I ran on the progressive values that I believe in - and won. And now I'm running against another long-time Republican who has turned to the political establishment for support.

I'm turning to you. It's going to take all the progressive voices in the online community to speak out about the issues. Challenge us on our records. And ask the tough questions. And after the election that's when our work will begin.

Here's some ways you can help:

Sign up for updates on my website.

Become a supporter on my facebook page.

Follow me on Twitter.

Post a blog

And ask your friends to do the same.