Louis J. Barletta (born January 28, 1956) is the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 11th congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party. He is the former Mayor of Hazleton, known for his vocal opposition to illegal immigration and his efforts to keep illegal immigrants out of the city.
Early life, education, and business career
Barletta was born in Hazleton, Pennsylvania to Rocky and Angeline Barletta. After graduating from high school, he attended Luzerne County Community College and Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.
After an unsuccessful tryout for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, Barletta went to work for his family's construction and heating oil business.
In 1984, Barletta founded a pavement marking company, Interstate Road Marking Corporation, which he sold in 2000. At the time of the sale, his firm had grown to become the largest of its kind in Pennsylvania.
Mayor of Hazleton
He was defeated for a seat on the Hazleton City Council in 1996, but won two years later. In 1999, he defeated Jack Mundie for mayor, taking 66% of the vote and overcoming a Democratic registration edge in the city.
Barletta was reelected as mayor in 2003 and 2007. In 2007, Barletta was nominated in both the Republican and Democratic primary elections. Barletta defeated the Democratic candidate, former Mayor Michael Marsicano, on the Democratic ballot as a write-in.
In 2006, Barletta made headlines for his efforts opposing illegal immigration in Hazleton vowing to make the city “one of the toughest places in the United States” for illegal immigrants.
Barletta introduced and the city council approved the Illegal Immigration Relief Act. The ordinance allowed the city to deny a business permit to employers who hired illegal immigrants and gave the city authority to fine landlords up to $1,000 for leasing to illegal immigrants. The act also made English the official language of Hazleton, prohibiting city employees from translating documents into any language without official authorization. In response, the ACLU and Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund sued in Federal District Court to block the ordinance. In July 2007, District Court Judge James M. Munley ruled that the act was unconstitutional for interfering with Federal immigration laws and violating the due process of individuals, employers and landlords. The ruling was upheld on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals on September 9, 2010. In a public statement shortly after the decision, Barletta vowed to appeal.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 2002, Barletta ran as the Republican candidate in the 11th District against nine-term Democratic incumbent Paul Kanjorski. The 11th had long been considered a Democratic stronghold, but Barletta was viewed as a very strong candidate--indeed, the first credible Republican challenger Kanjorski had faced since his 1986 reelection bid--since he was a very popular Republican mayor from a heavily Democratic city.
Barletta lost, taking 42.4% of the vote. The race might have been much closer had the state legislature not decided to move heavily Democratic Scranton, previously the heart of the 10th District, to the 11th. Barletta lost the district's share of Lackawanna County, home to Scranton, by 32 points; he only trailed in the old 11th by 9,000 votes.
Barletta faced Kanjorski for a second congressional race in 2008. Multiple polls had shown Barletta leading Kanjorski by as many as 5 percentage points, and the race has been pegged as one of the nation's most competitive leading into the November elections. That race was one of very few nationwide where a Republican challenger had a credible chance at unseating an incumbent Democrat.
Barletta lost to Kanjorski 48%-52%, largely due to losing Lackawanna County by 12,800 votes. Barletta won the territory that had been in the district prior to the 2000s round of redistricting by almost 4,000 votes.
Barletta announced on December 9, 2009, that he would once again run for Congress in 2010. He won his party's nomination on Tuesday, May 18, 2010. Barletta won the General Election on November 2, 2010 against Kanjorski by a 54.7%-45.3% margin. City Council President Joe Yannuzzi succeeded Barletta as Mayor of Hazleton on December 15, 2010.
On April 15, 2011, Barletta voted with the Republican majority for Paul Ryan's budget.
Barletta has characterized a balanced budget amendment as a gimmick and said he will not vote to raise the debt ceiling.
- Committee on Education and the Workforce
- Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education
- Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training
- Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions
January 30th, 2012