Click here or on image for video of introduction and moment of silence.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives today observed a moment of silence in honor of the U.S. Marines lost in a helicopter crash in Hawaii in January, an accident that claimed the lives of twelve Marines, including Sergeant Adam C. Schoeller of Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania.
Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today entered the following statement into the Congressional Record:
MR. SPEAKER, It is with a heavy heart that I honor my constituent, Marine Sergeant Adam C. Schoeller of Boiling Springs, and to express my deepest condolences to his family and friends.
On January 14, 2016, Sgt. Schoeller and 11 of his fellow patriots went missing off of the coast of Oahu during a late night training session when the two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters they were travelling in crashed. These honorable Marines tragically lost their lives while in the line of duty, and the American people are forever grateful for the service they provided to their country.
Sgt. Schoeller graduated from Boiling Springs High School in 2008 and enlisted to serve his country with the United States Marine Corps immediately afterward. Deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom, Sgt. Schoeller’s leadership and bravery distinguish his outstanding service to our nation, as evidenced by the over 200 people who attended a vigil in his honor held at the Boiling Springs Clock tower and Veterans Memorial. Sgt. Schoeller received various honors such as the Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal – decorations which are indicative of his dedication to our country.
Sgt. Schoeller is survived by his wife, Samantha Wickel-Schoeller, whom he recently married on July 4, 2015. Samantha, his father Ralph, his mother Laurie, sister Shannon, and brother Collin were all able to travel to Hawaii through the Semper Fi Fund following this terrible tragedy.
MR. SPEAKER, please join me in honoring the life and service of Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller, for his selfless heroism and dedication to his family, community, and country.Read More
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today voted in favor of legislation that prevents the Obama Administration’s Justice Department from unfairly targeting legitimate businesses simply because they run afoul of the president’s political agenda. The bill, H.R. 766, blocks what it known as “Operation Choke Point,” which is an administration strategy of cutting off banking relationships for legal businesses which fail to meet with President Obama’s approval, such as firearms and ammunition stores or tobacco distributors. The Financial Institution Customer Protection Act passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 250-to-169 and now heads to the Senate for its consideration.
“Operation Choke Point represents exactly what people fear as government at its worst,” Barletta said. “We cannot have the Obama Justice Department picking winners and losers in the marketplace based on whether or not the businesses meet with the approval of President Obama and his ideological crusaders.”
Under Operation Choke Point, either the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) exerts pressure on banking institutions to sever ties with targeted businesses, which are otherwise perfectly legal. The scheme is an unconstitutional projection of executive power used to harm small employers by cutting them off from access to capital and depository institutions. Operation Choke Point results in a blanket prohibition against entire industries, with no concern for whether specific businesses are law-abiding and legitimate.
The Financial Institution Customer Protection Act:
“Operation Choke Point is just another time the president has done an end-around past the legislature because he knows he couldn’t get his policies through the people’s representatives in Congress,” Barletta said. “This is a terrible practice, as he is coercing banks into acting as the legal and political arm of the Department of Justice. Operation Choke Point is wrong; it is an abuse of power; and it must be stopped.”Read More
Click here or on image for Barletta Q&A at Homeland Security Hearing
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today grilled a key Obama Administration immigration official over the practice of admitting refugees to the United States from Syria even though the refugees do not appear in U.S. databases used to screen applicants. Under questioning from Barletta in a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing, León Rodríguez, Director of the Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, testified that people applying for the refugee program are checked against a database, and if no information at all is found, it is not disqualifying. Rodríguez’s testimony is alarming in light of prior statements given by national security experts, who believe that U.S. databases are inadequate for screening purposes because much of the background record information simply does not exist.
Barletta has long called for the suspension of the entire refugee program – not just for Syria or Iraq – because it represents a gaping hole in national security, one which ISIS, their sympathizers, and other terrorists could easily exploit. Barletta asked Rodríguez what happens when refugee applicants fail to appear in U.S. databases used for screening:
Barletta: Can you confirm to us today that not one single refugee, who doesn’t show up in our databases, is admitted to the United States?
Rodríguez: If you don’t show up in our databases, it means there isn’t derogatory information.
Barletta: That’s not true. I don’t think anybody here believes that. We have no databases to check. It doesn’t mean there is no history. We have no records, or we cannot count on the Syrian government to give us the databases. That doesn’t mean that nothing exists. It means that we just don’t have any database to collect the information. I don’t think anybody here believes that.
This is why the American people don’t trust allowing people in here, because they don’t think we’re getting a straight story.
Barletta again questioned Rodríguez, who admitted that those who do not appear at all in the screening databases are sometimes let into the United States:
Barletta: Can you confirm today that no one single refugee from Syria will be admitted into the United States if they don’t show up in the database? Can you confirm today that not one person will be allowed in?
Rodríguez: There are people who have been admitted who haven’t shown up in the database.
Barletta: It only takes one person. It doesn’t take an army. Your family, my family, every single person in here has family. Family is the most important people in the world to you. It only takes one person.
At the beginning of his question and answer period, Barletta noted four leading experts in national security issues who previously testified that the U.S. simply does not have enough information to adequately screen refugee applicants:
James Comey, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): “We can query our databases until the cows come home, but nothing will show up because we have no record of that person. You can only query what you have collected.”
Michael Steinbach, Assistant Director of the FBI: “The concern in Syria is that we don’t have the systems in place on the ground to collect the information. All of the data sets, the police, the intel services that normally you would go and seek that information [from], don’t exist.”
Tom Fuentes, former Assistant Director of the FBI: “Our human sources [in Syria] are minimal, and we don’t have a government we can partner with, and that’s a key thing.”
Nicholas Rasmussen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center: “The intelligence picture we’ve had of this [Syrian] conflict zone isn’t what we’d like it to be. You can only review [data] against what you have.”
“The 9/11 Commission Report told us that terrorists want two things most of all: to gain access to this country, and to be able to stay long enough to carry out their missions,” Barletta said following the hearing. “If we are letting people in while we have no way of accurately screening them, we are accomplishing the terrorists’ first goal for them.”Read More
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today voted in favor of legislation that makes it more difficult for the president to remove financial institutions from a list of supporters of Iran or terrorist efforts related to that nation. Iran has begun to enjoy sanctions relief as a result of the ill-advised Iran Nuclear Deal agreed to by President Obama, and even Secretary of State John Kerry has admitted that the rogue nation will likely spend a portion of its windfall on supporting terrorist groups. The bill follows Iran’s recent temporary detainment of two U.S. ships and ten sailors, which came not long after the Obama Administration backed away from threatened sanctions against Iran after it tested ballistic missiles in violation of United Nations resolutions. The legislation, H.R. 3662, passed the House by a vote of 246-to-181.
“Iran is growing more and more belligerent, and they have to be shown that there are consequences for their actions,” Barletta said. “The nuclear deal the president agreed to paves the way for the mullahs to acquire a nuclear weapon, so we have to be able to exert some form of pressure to regain our leverage. Financial pressure is one of the most effective tools we can use.”
The legislation prohibits the president from removing certain foreign financial institutions, including an Iranian financial institution, from the list of designated nationals and blocked persons maintained by the Office of Foreign Asset Control of the Treasury until the president makes two certifications to Congress:
“Every day that passes brings us another day closer to a nuclear Iran,” Barletta said. “If the president won’t stand up to the mullahs, the House of Representatives will.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement regarding the attempt in the House of Representatives to override President Obama’s veto of legislation that would have repealed key elements of Obamacare and shifted Planned Parenthood funding to other health clinics that do not provide abortions. Both the House and Senate had passed H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, however the president vetoed the measure on January 8, 2016. The House override vote failed by a count of 241-to-186, as 285 votes were needed to override.
Barletta’s statement is as follows:
“I am disappointed that we were unable to gather the votes needed to override the president’s veto. President Obama must be the only person in America who doesn’t realize that his health care law is an utter failure. Millions of Americans have lost their health insurance policies, have been pushed away from their family doctors, or have seen their premiums rise dramatically. The rising cost of insurance has killed jobs, discouraged employers from hiring, and caused full-time workers to be scaled back to part-time. All of this has occurred despite the president’s repeated pledges that the opposite would happen. From top to bottom, Obamacare is a disaster.”Read More
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today supported bipartisan legislation to improve the retirement investment advice available to American workers and small businesses, superseding a new rule from the Department of Labor (DOL) that would make such advice less accessible. Barletta, a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, supported H.R. 4293 and H.R. 4294 as they were passed by the committee and onto the full House of Representatives.
“Americans are living longer lives than ever before, which means that retirement planning is more important than ever before,” Barletta said. “The federal government ought to make it easier for people and small employers to get the best advice possible, not put up barriers. This legislation will help people get the information and advice they need, and therefore provide workers with a better chance at saving for their retirement years.”
The proposed DOL rule raised bipartisan concerns, as it would dramatically alter how families and small business owners receive financial advice. The rule would prohibit some of the most basic advice available, such as assistance in rolling over funds from a 401(k) into an Individual Retirement Account, or determining the distribution of funds upon retirement. Small business owners would be denied certain assistance while determining investment options for employees, making it more likely that small employers will forego retirement plans for workers altogether. In addition, low- and middle-income families with fewer resources would lose access to financial advice completely or be forced to pay substantially higher fees to continuing seeing advisors they already trust.
The legislation the full House will now consider requires an affirmative vote from Congress before any final rule by the DOL goes into effect. Failing that, the legislation strengthens retirement planning by requiring financial advisors to fulfill their fiduciary duties in serving their clients’ best interests. The bills enhance transparency by providing clear and simple disclosure requirements for advisors. Under the legislation, small employers will continue to enjoy access to advice in crafting workers’ retirement plans.
“Americans are working harder and harder these days, and the dream of a comfortable retirement seems further and further away for far too many people,” Barletta said. “As people and businesses are trying to plan for their futures, government should just get out of the way as much as possible.”Read More
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today alerted residents of Pennsylvania’s 11th District that the Internal Revenue Service is no longer widely distributing tax forms, which had normally been available at his congressional district offices, state offices, libraries, post offices, and other public buildings. Instead, 2016 tax forms may be obtained by telephone or online.
“Benjamin Franklin once said that two things were certain: death and taxes,” Barletta said. “At last as far as taxes are concerned, it is no longer a certainty that you can find the appropriate tax forms in the public buildings you’ve become used to.”
Citizens can obtain copies of tax forms, instructions, and other publications by:
Imagine, if you will, a Pennsylvania family farm like many others, with pleasant fields growing crops meant for market – to support the farmer’s family and feed American citizens. Picture also a dry depression in one of those fields, which only gathers standing water during periods of heavy rain.
Now conjure up a confrontational federal bureaucrat decreeing that the mud puddle is protected under the new “Waters of the U.S.” rule from the Army Corps of Engineers and the unaccountable Environmental Protection Agency.
That last part is easy to envision, because it is precisely what can happen under a rule recently enacted by President Barack Obama’s EPA.
The water rule would significantly expand the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act over virtually all waters and wet areas in the country. The rule also would undermine the role of the states as partners and co-regulators of the nation’s waters. The EPA’s new definition of federal waters would force property owners to prove that large mud puddles and ditches on their property should not be federally regulated. The result would be a massive tangle of bureaucracy that increases the costs for farmers, home builders, manufacturers, contractors and pretty much anyone who uses land in the course of doing business.
Additionally, townships, cities and counties will feel the pinch as a reduction in land usage will complicate their own interactions with the federal government and reduce the amount of property taxes they can collect.
The Clean Water Act, which has governed as a strong partnership between the federal government and the states for more than four decades, had long identified “Waters of the U.S.” as those bodies of water that are navigable, or significantly connected to navigable waters, a phrase which has always been understood to mean that one could pilot a boat through the water. No longer. Under these EPA changes that took effect in August 2015, that depression in a field which occasionally fills with water, that ditch or spillway which only becomes a stream during heavy rain or snowmelt, or that isolated pond in the middle of a farm, could fall under the new regulations.
Under the new rule, obtaining federal permits for such mundane chores as building fences or pulling weeds could become nightmarish if the EPA determines that such activity would cause runoff that could eventually find its way into a navigable body of water. Farmers and landowners would have to prove that their property did not fall under the rule, meaning higher legal fees, increased costs for doing business and threats to existing jobs and new hiring. Some say the EPA rule could finally run them out of business.
The rule presupposes that states lack the ability to monitor and enforce environmental regulations, and it ignores Supreme Court cases that clearly state that there are limits to the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act. Under the old way, states and localities were entrusted with overseeing smaller, more remote wetlands, because they were more in touch with residents and more in tune with local economic and environmental realities. As has been habitually the case with the Obama EPA, the new course is that “Washington knows best” and “one size fits all.”
There are more than 5,100 farms in the congressional district I am honored to represent; but agriculture is by no means the only industry threatened by the new “Waters of the U.S.” rule. Home builders will be squeezed by the increase in size of the water buffer on some land parcels, which means reduced usable land areas. In turn, that translates to lower amounts of property taxes collected by local governments. Further, manufacturing will be stifled, as businesses will be reluctant to tangle with the EPA in order to begin, improve or expand operations. All of these developments threaten job creation and economic vitality in Pennsylvania.
Already the federal courts have put a temporary stay on the rule since at least 32 states, representatives of the nation’s large cities, smaller cities, counties, towns, townships, farmers, businesses, home builders, contractors, manufacturers and others throughout the regulated community have fought against the rule’s federal overreach. Both chambers of Congress have recognized the foolishness of the rule and passed a resolution vacating the change. Despite this, President Obama has vetoed the measure, demonstrating once again that he has greater concern for placating his environmental extremist supporters than he does for working farmers and local businesses everywhere.
There’s an old adage that says that “all politics is local.” The same should be said for the decision-making process as it relates to the Waters of the U.S. rule. Opposition to the rule is grounded in the belief that all wisdom does not reside in Washington, D.C. It might be difficult for unelected, federal environmental bureaucrats to understand, but sometimes a mud puddle is just a mud puddle.
U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, of Hazleton, represents the 11th congressional district, which includes parts of Luzerne County and all or parts of eight other counties.
To see Rep, Barletta's op-ed on the Times Leader website, click here.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today warned Pennsylvanians about a possible telephone scam occurring in recent weeks, in which a caller solicits personal financial information while impersonating a representative of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the Department of Treasury. Numerous residents have contacted Barletta’s offices to report receiving such calls from people demanding payment of supposedly delinquent federal taxes and threatening legal action. Barletta strongly advised citizens to refuse to provide personally identifying or financial information over the telephone and to report any incidents to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
“These callers are aggressive, and may already know certain information about their intended victims, like the last four digits of a Social Security Number,” Barletta said. “People should never, under any circumstances, give out financial information like credit card numbers over the phone to someone who calls out of the blue demanding such payments.”
According to the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA), the scam may be automated or feature live callers who can use caller identification technology to make it appear as though they are actually calling from the IRS or Department of Treasury. Followed up phone calls may be from people claiming to be from local law enforcement or the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“The people running this scam are criminals, and they are just trolling for victims,” Barletta said. “Protect yourself, and be aware that the IRS would never ask for such financial information over the phone.”
Barletta encouraged anyone who has received such a call to contact TIGTA at (800) 366-4484 or fill out an “IRS Impersonation Scam” form at https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml. Citizens may also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov. To determine if actual federal taxes are owed, residents can call the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040.Read More
- U.S. Constitution
Article II, Section 3
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today announced that he will sign onto an amicus brief currently being drafted for submission to the Supreme Court as justices review President Obama’s executive actions in granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. Barletta has been an outspoken critic of Obama’s efforts to circumvent Congress and illegally bestow amnesty on as many as five million people who broke immigration laws to enter or stay in the United States. The Supreme Court announced this week that it would hear the case. Barletta will sign the friend-of-the-court brief with other members of Congress and other interested parties.
The brief will concentrate, at least in part, on the “Take Care Clause” of the United States Constitution. In Article II, Section 3, the Constitution requires that the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The brief is expected to be finalized in several weeks.
“President Obama said at least 22 times that he did not have the legal authority to do what he eventually did – use his pen to grant amnesty to people who have willfully broken our laws to be in this country,” Barletta said. “We have immigration laws in this country for two main reasons: to protect national security and to preserve American jobs. The president’s actions violate both of those principles, and were unconstitutional on top of it all.”
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction against the executive amnesty, which Obama attempted through his Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In February, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen granted an injunction against Obama’s actions to allow a suit filed by 26 states to proceed.
“The president has repeatedly ignored Congress and stretched executive authority beyond its breaking point, which is why we have turned to the courts to restore order,” Barletta said. “The people of the United States don’t elect a king, they elect a president and a Congress, and they each have their constitutional roles to play.”
Barletta led the fight to defund the president’s illegal executive amnesty plans through the passage of an appropriations bill that would have defunded the amnesty program for illegal immigrants, largely through an amendment Barletta co-authored, had the bill been signed into law. The House approved the appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with the key amendment known as the Aderholt/Mulvaney/Barletta Amendment. The House also adopted additional amendments Barletta supported, including one which stops the president’s DACA program, which has abused the practice of prosecutorial discretion on immigration enforcement.
The lead amendment to the DHS appropriations bill was the one authored by Rep. Barletta, Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-4), and Rep. Mick Mulvaney (SC-5). It was the Aderholt/Mulvaney/Barletta amendment which would have specifically defunded President Obama’s executive amnesty.
The Aderholt/Mulvaney/Barletta amendment addressed the Obama executive amnesty by:
Barletta remained a leader in the fight against President Obama’s executive amnesty for illegal immigration, arguing that the policy was a national security threat and unfairly favored illegal immigrants over legal immigrants and American workers.
“Any objective review must find that the president’s policies have placed the concerns of those who have broken our laws ahead of the interests of citizens and legal residents of the United States,” Barletta wrote in an opinion column in Roll Call on March 23, 2015. “Employment is difficult enough to find for millions of Americans and legal residents who woke up this morning without a pay check. On top of that hardship, the president has now introduced millions of new applicants who will compete for jobs that are already scarce. It is difficult to imagine how such a policy is beneficial to American workers.”
115 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
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.
Retweeted by reploubarletta
Retweeted by reploubarletta
Moment of silence in House for 12 Marines killed in crash, including Sgt. Adam C. Schoeller of Boiling Springs. https://t.co/y2TV7vv8Uw
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"Operation Choke Point" is Obama DOJ targeting legitimate businesses it doesn't like ideologically. It has to stop. https://t.co/oAeFHdSgkt
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Obama Admin. has admitted refugees who don't appear in our screening databases. No background info at all. https://t.co/Yy1wMInVjI
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After the ill-advised Iran deal, each day brings us closer to a nuclear Iran. Time to make sanctions tougher. https://t.co/4nwuJPaAGo
A big part of me would like to see Peyton Manning have a chance to go out on top with another Super Bowl victory to cap his Hall of Fame career.
The House of Representatives observed a moment of silence this afternoon in honor of the twelve Marines killed in a helicopter crash in Hawaii
Operation Choke Point represents exactly what people fear as government at its worst. We cannot have the Obama Justice Department picking winners
Each year, the Keystone Job Corps has students shadow people in the work place during the week of Groundhog Day (Groundhog Day ... shadow ...
It was a pleasure talking about great opportunities for kids with representatives of the Pennsylvania Head Start Association. From left to right: