Louis Barletta

Louis Barletta


Barletta: California Bill Turns Entire State into Sanctuary


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today drew attention to pending legislation in California’s state legislature which would impede the ability of federal immigration officials to do their jobs, effectively turning the entire state into a “sanctuary jurisdiction” resistant to enforcing federal immigration law.  The California origin of the bill evokes the memory of Kate Steinle, the 32-year-old woman who was killed in 2015 by an illegal immigrant who was a seven-time felon who had been deported at least five times.  Additionally, the legislation recalls the legal battle over Hazleton’s illegal immigration ordinance, which by contrast, sought to enforce immigration laws rather than impede them.  Barletta called on President Obama’s Department of Justice to prepare a case challenging the law in court at the appropriate time.

California lawmakers are considering AB 2792, the misleadingly named TRUTH Act (Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds Act), which allows illegal immigrants being held in custody to refuse to be interviewed by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  Both chambers of the California legislature have passed versions of the bill, with the Assembly now considering the Senate version.  The bill is expected to be sent to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown for his consideration soon.  Barletta noted that it is tragically ironic that California is the place of origin of the legislation, since it is where Kate Steinle was murdered while walking with her father on a pier in San Francisco on July 1, 2015.

“It is sad that California is the home of this legislation that would make it even more difficult for ICE agents to do their jobs and enforce federal immigration law,” Barletta said.  “We already knew that various jurisdictions actively excused illegal behavior, but this would turn the entire state into a giant sanctuary where illegal immigrants know they can enjoy protection.  The result would be a complete dishonoring of the memory of Kate Steinle, who was gunned down by a criminal illegal immigrant – a chronic offender repeatedly granted freedom by local officials who scoffed at federal immigration laws and procedures.”  

Barletta also pointed out that while he was mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, his ordinance to strip the business licenses of employers or landlords who knowingly hired or rented to illegal immigrants was blocked in court because it enforced immigration laws, which were deemed by the courts to be the responsibility of the federal government.  California’s pending legislation, inversely, actually inhibits the ability of federal agents to do their jobs under existing immigration law. 

“The scenario in California turns our Hazleton experience completely on its head,” Barletta said.  “Our Illegal Immigration Relief Act sought to solve the problems caused by the federal government’s failure to adequately enforce federal law, but we were stymied by judges who claimed we were encroaching on federal responsibilities.  Now here is California actually trying to block ICE agents from doing their jobs.  It defies explanation how Hazleton’s law could be blocked, while this California law could be allowed to proceed.”      

Barletta urged the Obama Justice Department to prepare a lawsuit to block the implementation of the bill once it becomes law, using the supremacy of federal law as grounds.

“This will be a test of the willingness of the Obama Administration to stand for the rule of law,” Barletta said.  “If immigration laws mean anything at all, they will be preparing action to stop this law right now.”

Barletta has personal experience with tragedies involving the victims of illegal immigrants.  When Barletta was mayor of Hazleton in 2006, a local man, Derek Kichline, was murdered by an illegal immigrant who had been released in New York, another sanctuary jurisdiction.  Barletta was also moved by meeting the parents of 20-year-old murder victim Carly Snyder of Northumberland County, who was stabbed 37 times by an illegal immigrant from Honduras in 2005.    

In October 2015, Democrats in the U.S. Senate blocked legislation that would have addressed sanctuary cities.  The House had passed similar legislation, which withheld certain law-enforcement funding and grants.  There are now 340 such sanctuary cities in the United States, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.  The bill, which needed 60 votes in the Senate to advance, failed by a vote of 54-to-45, largely along party lines.

In July 2015, Barletta had reintroduced a bill – tougher than even the House version – that he authored in 2011 as his first piece of Congressional legislation, the Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act (H.R. 3002), which would prohibit any federal funding for a minimum period of one year to any state or local government which has a policy or law that prevents them from assisting immigration authorities in enforcing federal immigration law.  A state or local government would only regain federal funding eligibility after the Attorney General certifies that its laws and policies are in compliance with federal immigration law.

“I simply do not understand the mindset of people who repeatedly side with those who break the law, against the law-abiding,” Barletta said.  “Time and time again, we hear the voices that rise up in support of illegal immigrants, including those who habitually break our laws and commit further crimes and acts of violence.  But over and over, the voices of the victims of those crimes have fallen on deaf ears.  We cannot let California continue that trend.”  

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Barletta Announces Fire Grants for Bloomsburg & Aristes


Rep. Barletta speaks to volunteers at the Bloomsburg Fire Department on one of his Main Street Tours of Pennsylvania’s 11th District.

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced that local fire departments in Bloomsburg and Aristes have received federal grants to help with recruitment and personal protection equipment.  The Bloomsburg Fire Department will receive a grant of $131,500 from the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program.  Aristes Fire Company #1 will receive $42,072 from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.  Bloomsburg’s grant will aid in recruiting efforts for additional firefighters, while the Aristes grant will purchase personal protection equipment, such as helmets, eye protection, and turnout gear.  Both grants are administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency within the Department of Homeland Security. 

“As a former mayor of my hometown of Hazleton, I know how important local fire departments are to a community, and I also know how strapped for cash they usually are,” Barletta said.  “These grants will go a long way toward ensuring that our local residents – and their homes and businesses – are protected when disaster strikes.”

The SAFER Grant Program distributes funds to assist fire departments and volunteer interest organizations increase or maintain the number of trained front line firefighters and emergency services personnel available in their communities.  The program seeks to assist local fire departments with deployment capabilities in order to respond to emergencies, assuring communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.  The grants are available to volunteer, professional, or combination fire departments. The AFG program provides direct support to fire departments, emergency medical services organizations, and state fire training academies to fund necessary equipment and training.   

For more information on SAFER Grants, please visit http://www.fema.gov/staffing-adequate-fire-emergency-response-grants.  Additionally, interested organizations may contact Mike Shay at Rep. Barletta’s Hazleton office at (570) 751-0050 or by email at Michael.Shay@mail.house.gov.

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Barletta Announces Grant Award to Back Mountain Fire & EMS


Rep. Barletta visits with the Back Mountain Regional Fire and EMS Company during a trip to Dallas.


DALLAS – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced that Back Mountain Regional Fire and EMS has received a grant totaling $218,000 from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for recruitment and staffing.  The award is part of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program administered by DHS.  SAFER grants help local fire departments and rescue squads to provide around-the-clock emergency services to their communities. 

“This grant will go a long way toward helping Back Mountain Regional Fire and EMS attract more and more dedicated public servants to protect their fellow citizens in the Dallas area,” Barletta said.  “Our fire departments and emergency responders are the fire line of defense in our neighborhoods when disaster strikes.  We must do anything we can do to help people be safe in our communities, and I remain proud to support the SAFER grants program and our local fire departments.” 

The SAFER Grant Program distributes funds to assist fire departments and volunteer interest organizations increase or maintain the number of trained front line firefighters and emergency services personnel available in their communities.  The program seeks to assist local fire departments with deployment capabilities in order to respond to emergencies, assuring communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards.  The grants are available to volunteer, professional, or combination fire departments. 

For more information on SAFER Grants, please visit http://www.fema.gov/staffing-adequate-fire-emergency-response-grants.  Additionally, interested organizations may contact Mike Shay at Rep. Barletta’s Hazleton office at (570) 751-0050 or by email at Michael.Shay@mail.house.gov.

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Barletta Warns of New Wave of IRS Phone Scams


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today warned that numerous Pennsylvania residents have contacted his office to report a telephone scam in which the caller impersonates a representative of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The caller identifies himself as an IRS agent and threatens legal action if the recipient of the call does not pay a specified amount in alleged taxes and penalties.  Barletta strongly advised citizens to refuse to provide any personally identifying information over the phone and to report such calls to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

“We have seen these IRS phone scams in the past, and apparently they are back again.  The sad fact is that these criminals would not be continuing this tactic if they were not successful in tricking some people into giving them money,” Barletta said.  “The most important thing to remember is that the IRS would never demand payment over the phone.  If you receive one of these calls, you should make a note of the number, immediately hang up, and report the call right away.”

The callers may already know certain pieces of information about their intended victims, which are used to give the scam more credibility.  It is important to note that there are certain things that the IRS would never do.  The IRS would not:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, or call about taxes owed without first having sent a bill through the U.S. mail. 
  • Demand tax payment without providing an opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say is owed.
  • Require a specific payment method for taxes owed, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to enforce non-payment.

Residents who receive a call they believe to be part of this scam should:

  • Refuse to provide any information to the caller.
  • Hang up immediately.
  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration to report the call online by using their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page, or by calling (800) 366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission.  Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov.  Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
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Barletta Announces Increase in Harrisburg International Airport Grant


WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced that Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) will see an increase of almost $2 million in a grant already awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The grant was first awarded in May, totaling $8,836,394, with the FAA today announcing that the amount has been raised to $10,800,000, an increase of $1,963,606.  The grant will be used to help maintain the structural integrity of runway pavement at HIA and help minimize foreign object debris.  Barletta has long been a champion of the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), the funding source for Harrisburg’s grant.

“What was already good news for Harrisburg International Airport has just become better news,” Barletta said.  “Infrastructure truly is the backbone of our economy, and that means we must provide adequate funding for our transportation system, including railways, highways, and of course, airports.”

The grant to HIA now totaling $10.8 million will be used to rehabilitate 4,000 feet of runway, including pavement milling, overlay of the existing surface, marking, lighting, and obstruction mitigation.  This will be the first of three phases of the overall project, at a total estimated cost of $24.5 million, scheduled for completion in 2018.

In February, Barletta co-authored an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill to restore AIP funding to the same level as in Fiscal Year 2011 ($3.5 billion) and increase the amount by 2 percent in each subsequent year.  The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which Barletta is a member, approved the amendment with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 47-to-12.  The Senate and House failed to come to an agreement on that long-term funding bill for the FAA, so in the interim a short-term package has been signed into law, which continues existing policy.  In Pennsylvania alone, airports have identified $700 million in critical infrastructure projects.  Nationally, airports require $30 billion worth of improvements.  

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Barletta Presents Angels in Adoption Award to Brandon’s Forever Home


Congressman Barletta announced that Brandon’s Forever Home had been honored with an Angels in Adoption award,

breaking the news with co-founders state Rep. Tarah Toohil and local attorney Lorine Ogurkis.

HAZLETON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today presented an Angels in Adoption award to Brandon’s Forever Home, the non-profit organization focused on raising awareness of adoption and foster care and placing children with loving, permanent families.  Brandon’s Forever Home was founded in 2014 by state Rep. Tarah Toohil (116th District) and local attorney Lorine Ogurkis, who each have their own personal experiences with adoption and foster children.  Barletta had nominated the group for the honor awarded each year by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.   

The Angels in Adoption award, which is given to individuals or organizations nationwide, is considered prestigious in the world of adoption and foster care. Since 1999, nearly 2,000 have been named, including: Muhammad Ali, former First Lady Laura Bush, Patti LaBelle, Al Roker, the Hallmark Channel, and People Magazine.

“Here at home, we have long recognized the great work Rep. Toohil and Lorine Ogurkis have been doing at Brandon’s Forever Home, and this award makes it so people outside of Hazleton will know as well,” Barletta said.  “For too many children, the dream of a loving, permanent family can seem so far out of reach.  But thanks to Brandon’s Forever Home, that dream is becoming reality for more and more young people.”

Both Toohil and Ogurkis came to their commitment to the welfare of children through experiences in their own personal lives.  Rep. Toohil’s parents lovingly fostered more than 40 children through the years, including Brandon, a young man whose tragic death inspired the lifelong dedication that has resulted in Brandon’s Forever Home.  Ogurkis, the mother of three biological children, met her youngest son, Michael, through adoption.  She also has provided a home to young Brittany, who had aged out of the foster system.  The first location of Brandon’s Forever Home was actually in the Ogurkis residence.

“Rep. Toohil and Lorine Ogurkis have touched so many lives through the advocacy of adoption and foster care because their own lives were affected in a loving way as well,” Barletta said.  “For the children they already have helped, and for the ones they will help in the future, they truly are angels in adoption.”

Brandon’s Forever Home, located at 187 North Church Street in Hazleton, assists with adoptions and children in the foster care system, and urges individuals to become foster parents.  The non-profit organization is a place for those aging out of the foster care system to find help, learn life skills, and connect with others.  For more information, please visit the website www.BrandonsForeverHome.com.

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Barletta to Co-Host Heroin & Opioid Forum with Rep. Marsico


HARRISBURG – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced that he will be co-hosting a forum with state Representative Ron Marsico (105th District) to discuss the growing opioid epidemic facing Pennsylvania communities and efforts underway to combat the problem.  Barletta and Marsico will welcome members of the public to the Rose Lehrman Arts Center at Harrisburg Area Community College on Thursday, August 18, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  The forum, moderated by WHP-AM morning show host R.J. Harris, will feature representatives from government agencies, health professions, and treatment advocacy programs. 

“All you have to do is read the newspapers or watch television news to know that substance abuse is a problem that afflicts millions of Americans,” Barletta said.  “The opioid epidemic is something that I consistently hear about when I am home in Pennsylvania.  I look forward to this important discussion, and I thank Rep. Marsico, R.J. Harris, and Harrisburg Area Community College for making it possible.”

Expected panelists at the forum include:

  • Dave Freed, Cumberland County District Attorney.
  • Gary Tennis, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs.
  • Graham Hetrick, Dauphin County Coroner.
  • David Spotts, Esq., Director of Public Safety, Lower Paxton Township Police Department.
  • John Cribari, Founder, Natalie Cribari Drug Awareness Fund.
  • Dr. R. Daniel Bledsoe, Director of PinnacleHealth Emergency Department at West Shore Hospital and Community LifeTeam EMS.

Barletta was a member of the conference committee that worked out the differences between House and Senate versions of a new, sweeping approach to combating the opioid epidemic – a package which contains his own bill that specifically protects addicted newborns and their caregivers.  The legislation combines educational and prevention programs, enhanced treatment, and increased law enforcement efforts to provide a comprehensive approach to the expanding problem of opioid abuse.  The House and Senate approved the legislation and President Obama has signed it into law.

As a conferee on the legislation, Barletta was able to secure the inclusion of provisions his own Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act (H.R. 4843), which had already passed the House on its own by a unanimous vote of 421-to-0.  Specifically, based on Barletta’s legislation, the bill:

  • Requires the department of Health and Human Services to review and confirm states have put in place policies required under the 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
  • Strengthens protections for infants born with addiction by clarifying the intent of safe care plans. 
  • Improves accountability related to the care of infants and their families by requiring additional information on the incidents of infants born with substance exposure and their care. 
  • Provides states with best practices for developing plans to keep infants and their caregivers healthy and safe.
  • Encourages the use of information made available through other child welfare laws in verifying CAPTA compliance.

CAPTA was enacted in 1974 to coordinate federal efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect.  The law provides states with resources to improve their child protective services systems.  In order to receive funds under CAPTA, states are required to assure the Department of Health and Human Services that they have implemented certain child welfare policies.  Such policies include requiring health care providers to notify state child protective services agencies when a child is born with prenatal illegal substance exposure, as well as requiring the development of a “safe care plan” to protect these newborns and keep them and their caregivers healthy.  A recent Reuters investigation revealed some states are receiving federal funds without having the necessary policies in place, resulting in shocking and deadly consequences.

“Every 25 minutes in this country, a baby is born having already been exposed to drugs and suffering from opioid withdrawal,” Barletta said.  “Children who are exposed to illegal substances before they’re born are helpless in avoiding the pain and suffering caused by addiction, and so many infants enter this world without even a fighting chance.  These children will pay the price for something they had absolutely no control over—something they were defenseless against.”

The overall legislation, the Conference Report to Accompany S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, authorizes the attorney general and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants to address the national epidemics of addiction to heroin and prescription opioids, and makes various other changes to Federal law to combat opioid addiction and abuse.  The legislation:

  • Authorizes HHS to award grants to states and combinations of states to carry out a comprehensive opioid abuse response, including education, treatment, and recovery efforts to prevent overdose deaths.
  • Authorizes the Department of Justice to award grants to states, local governments, and nonprofit organizations to carry out a comprehensive opioid abuse response, including alternatives to incarceration, law enforcement training, and treatment to prevent overdose deaths.
  • Creates a task force on pain management to review best practices for chronic and acute pain management.
  • Creates awareness campaigns to spread information on prevention and detection of opioid abuse.
  • Authorizes Community-Based Coalition Enhancement Grants to Address Local Drug Crises.
  • Creates information materials and resources to prevent addiction related to youth sports injuries.
  • Authorizes grants to states to establish, implement, and improve state-based prescription drug monitoring programs.
  • Authorizes grants for states to implement standing orders for opioid reversal drugs.
  • Supports the purchase and distribution of opioid overdose reversal drugs and training for first responders and other key community sectors.
  • Support states in expanding access to addiction treatment services for individuals with an opioid use disorder.
  • Expands access to medication-assisted treatment by authorizing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine, which is used to treat opioid addiction or treat moderate pain.
  • Reauthorizes the Residential Treatment Program for Pregnant and Postpartum women and creates a new pilot program to support family-based services for women and their children.
  • Requires the Comptroller General of the United States to issue a report on neonatal abstinence syndrome.
  • Clarifies that pharmacists coordinating with the doctor and patient and in accordance with state law do not need to fill the entire amount of a prescription for a Schedule II substance, such as opioids.
  • Facilitates the creation and management of “lock-in” programs to curb identified fraud, abuse, and misuse of prescribed medications.
  • Requires the Government Accountability Office to study and report to Congress on the effects of the various “Good Samaritan” laws at the state level.
  • Protects classified information from disclosure during a federal court challenge by a designee.

“It was a great honor to be named a conferee as the House and Senate worked together to craft this bipartisan legislation to address our nation’s growing opioid epidemic and prevent the heartbreaking instances of addiction and loss that have touched every American community,” Barletta said.  “No American demographic is safe from the scourge of opioid addiction.  It crosses party lines and it transcends Congressional district boundaries.”  

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Barletta Announces $5 Million Infrastructure Grant for Carlisle


CARLISLE – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced the award of a $5 million federal grant to the Borough of Carlisle for use in the completion of streets, intersection restoration, and improvements like pedestrian and bicycle facilities.  The grant from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) construction program will also cover transit facility upgrades, green infrastructure, and streetscaping.  Barletta had sent a letter to DOT in support of the grant application submitted by Carlisle.

“This is great news for the community of Carlisle, as this means new funds for much-needed infrastructure improvements,” Barletta said.  “As a former mayor of my hometown of Hazleton, I know how much a grant like this can mean to a locality.  We all pay federal taxes, so it’s very nice to see some of that money return home.”

In support of Carlisle’s grant application for the TIGER grant, to be used for the Carlisle Connectivity project, Barletta wrote to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx in a letter dated April 26, 2016.

“The Carlisle Connectivity project seeks to revitalize struggling neighborhoods in Cumberland County through the construction of both commercial and private structures,” Barletta wrote.  “This area has faced many recent economic challenges, including the closure of three major factories and the deterioration of transportation infrastructure.”

Drawing on his experience in local government and his position on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Barletta argued that the grant would benefit the Carlisle area in a number of ways.

“As the former mayor of Hazleton, I understand that many qualified grant applications are submitted for this program.  However, I believe this is a competitive project that deserves to be selected,” Barletta wrote to Sec. Foxx.  “As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I recognize the importance of improving Carlisle’s community infrastructure, and believe that this project will reconnect individuals and families in the area with new jobs, retail opportunities, and public transportation.”

Borough of Carlisle Mayor Tim Scott, who secured the TIGER grant on this, his third attempt, was pleased with the announcement.

“I'd like to thank my congressman and his staff for their help and steadfast support of our efforts,” Mayor Scott said.  “Congressman Barletta is a former mayor and understands the challenges our older, core communities face to have enough resources to make a difference for our residents.  This grant will allow us to move forward on plans for the folks in our northwest quadrant and improve the quality of life there for generations to come.”

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Barletta Bulletin 7.31.16


Standing up for Our Law Enforcement Officers

As recent events at home and around the world have reminded us, we live in turbulent and dangerous times.  On the heels of the ISIS-inspired terrorist attack at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, we have seen an assault by another terrorist in Nice, France using a heavy truck as his main weapon.  We again witnessed the brutality of radical Islam when two terrorists murdered a Catholic priest in Normandy, France, during mass.

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Rep. Barletta Presents Medals to Local Veterans


Rep. Barletta presented overdue medals to area veterans at a ceremony in Hazleton. 

From left to right: James N. Richert, Gertrude Wenner (on behalf of her late husband, Kenneth), Rep. Barletta, and Myron M. Diehl, Jr. 


HAZLETON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today presented long overdue medals to three veterans during a ceremony at his Hazleton district office.  Recipients of the medals were: Myron M. Diehl, Jr. of Hazleton, James N. Richert of West Hazleton, and Kenneth H. Wenner (deceased) of White Haven. 

“These brave men sacrificed so that we may remain a free people in the greatest nation the world has ever known,” Barletta said.  “While these medals are long overdue, this presentation gives us an opportunity to thank them once again for their selfless acts on our behalf.”

Receiving medals were:

Myron M. Diehl, Jr. of Hazleton, U.S. Navy (Served on the USS Peterson during the Cuban Missile Blockade of 1962): Medals awarded included the Navy Good Conduct Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; and the Navy Expeditionary Medal.

James N. Richert of West Hazleton, U.S. Air Force (1971 to 1974): Medals awarded included the Presidential Unit Citation; the Vietnam Service Medal, with one Bronze Service Star; the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm (earned but not being presented, foreign award, not stocked by the United States Government).

Kenneth H. Wenner (deceased) of White Haven, U.S. Army Air Force (1942 to 1946): Medals awarded included the Army Good Conduct Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; and the Honorable Service Lapel Button, World War II.  Mr. Wenner’s medals were requested by his wife, Gertrude, and his son, Kenneth.

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Contact Information

115 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6511
Fax 202-225-0764

Representative Louis J. Barletta proudly represents his hometown of Hazleton and the people of Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District. He began his second term on January 3, 2013.

Representative Barletta was first sworn in on January 5, 2011. He immediately started serving on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which plays a critical role in the economic development of and job growth in Northeastern and South Central Pennsylvania, and the Education and Workforce Committee, which focuses on how our nation can improve its educational system so we have competitive, qualified workers in the future.

He remains on these committees during his second term in office.  Additionally, Rep. Barletta was appointed Chairman of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Also for his second term, Rep. Barletta was assigned to the Committee on Homeland Security, which was established in 2002 to provide congressional oversight for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and better protect the American people against a possible terrorist attack. The committee has jurisdiction over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), and the U.S. Coast Guard; border security programs including efforts to achieve operational control of the border; and border smuggling and trafficking of drugs, humans, currency, weapons and other illicit materials. The committee also has jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), counterterrorism efforts, cybersecurity, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport security, and more.

Illegal immigration is a very important subject for Representative Barletta, who first tackled the problem when he was mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Lou Barletta was the first mayor in the country to introduce and sign into law local ordinances cracking down against businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens. He has since become a national figure in the fight against illegal immigration.

During his first term in Congress, Representative Barletta formed the 112th Class Immigration Reform Caucus, which brings together members of the historic 2011-12 “freshmen” class. Representative Barletta chairs this caucus as it examines solutions to the country’s illegal immigration problems.

Also during his first term, Representative Barletta used his position on the Small Business Committee to fight to reduce the interest rate charged on certain Small Business Administration disaster recovery loans after massive flooding devastated the 11th District in September 2011.

Born and raised in Hazleton, Representative Barletta majored in elementary education as a student at Bloomsburg State College (now Bloomsburg University). He left school to try out for a Major League Baseball team, but was released when the team’s management discovered he couldn’t hit a curve ball.

After he returned to Northeastern Pennsylvania, he and his wife Mary Grace started a business together. For $29.95, the Barlettas formed a line-painting business. Through hard work and perseverance, they grew that business into the largest of its kind in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within five years. They eventually grew it to be the sixth-largest business of its kind in the entire nation.

As a small business owner, Representative Barletta saw how government regulation and taxes could affect the bottom line. Even though he had very little interest in politics, he decided to run for a slot on Hazleton City Council. He was first elected to council in 1998, then was elected mayor in 2000.

Despite inheriting a massive budget shortfall, he was able to turn around the City of Hazleton with tough, fiscally responsible decisions. This turnaround earned statewide praise and recognition.

In addition, his leadership on the issue of illegal immigration in Hazleton garnered national attention. By ever-increasing margins of victory, Representative Barletta was elected mayor three times.

In September 2004, Representative Barletta was appointed by the White House to serve on the United Nation Advisory Committee of Local Authorities as the representative of the United States of America.

In November 2010, Representative Barletta was elected to Congress on his third attempt. He was re-elected in November 2012.

Lou and Mary Grace are the parents of four daughters: Kelly, April, Lindsey, and Grace. They also have one grandson, Gabriel Louis; and one granddaughter, Madeleine Grace.

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