District Attorneys and Sheriffs Endorse Barletta for Re-Election

HAZLETON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today announced that seven district attorneys and six sheriffs serving counties across the 11th Congressional District have endorsed him for re-election. The list includes both Republicans and Democrats and highlights Barletta’s unwavering commitment to work with everyone, regardless of party affiliation, in order to get things done for his constituents.

“As a former mayor, I know how important it is for local, state, and federal law enforcement officials and legislators to work together,” Barletta said. “I am honored to have the support of the men and women who keep our communities safe.”

Barletta has consistently backed efforts to provide local law enforcement with the resources they need to protect their communities. Barletta supports funding for vital law enforcement grants, such as the COPS and Byrne JAG programs, and has assisted local police departments to secure these grants. He has fought for gang task force funding and joined Democratic state Sen. John Yudichak to create Operation Gang Up, a community-based organization that connects citizens, law enforcement and elected officials to help identify, fight and prevent the spread of gangs.

“Congressman Barletta has been a close ally in the fight to uphold our laws, keep dangerous criminals off our streets, and fight the heroin and opioid epidemic that is plaguing our communities,” Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said. “Our neighborhoods are safer because of Lou Barletta and I am proud to continue to support him for re-election.”

The district attorneys and sheriffs endorsing Barletta are:

District Attorneys

Thomas Leipold, Columbia County

David Freed, Cumberland County

Ed Marsico, Dauphin County

Stefanie Salavantis, Luzerne County

Angela Mattis, Montour County

Tony Matulewicz, Northumberland County

Andrew Bender, Perry County


Tim Chamberlain, Columbia County

Ronny Anderson, Cumberland County

Nicholas Chimienti Jr., Dauphin County

Ray Gerringer, Montour County

Carl Nace, Perry County

Ned Sherman, Wyoming County

“As someone who began his law enforcement career as a correctional officer before working my way up through the ranks to sheriff, I appreciate the work Congressman Barletta is doing for all levels of law enforcement,” Cumberland County Sheriff Ronny Anderson said. “We need leaders like Lou who understand the concerns of our communities and know how to get things done.”

This Congress, Barletta cosponsored and helped to usher passage of the Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act, which grants pepper spray to correctional workers and is named after a correctional officer in the 11th District who was murdered on duty. And as a Member of the Homeland Security Committee, Barletta has fought for better coordination between local and federal law enforcement. He authored the Fusion Center Enhancement Act, which would strengthen information sharing between the national network of federal, state, and local law enforcement entities to improve their ability to detect, prevent, and respond to terrorist or criminal activity. This bill passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.

Barletta continues to lead the bipartisan effort in Congress to combat our nation’s heroin and opioid epidemic. He helped to draft comprehensive legislation, which is now law, cracking down on illegal drug dealers, supporting addiction recovery efforts, and funding drug courts, among other approaches. He joined a bipartisan group of Pennsylvania members of the House of Representatives in urging Gov. Tom Wolf to issue state guidelines for prescribing naloxone, the antidote to acute opioid toxicity, or overdose. Understanding that fighting drug addiction requires a community approach, Barletta is convening public forums across the 11th District to discuss the growing opioid epidemic and efforts underway to combat the problem.

Barletta also believes that local law enforcement should have the ability to purchase surplus federal equipment, such as armored vehicles and riot gear, and he opposes the Obama Administration’s ban of the sale of military-style gear to local departments.

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Humane Society Endorses Barletta for Re-Election

WASHINGTON – The Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), the nation’s leading political advocacy organization for animal welfare, recently endorsed Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11) for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, citing his strong leadership and advocacy on animal protection policies.

“Lou Barletta has routinely supported advancements in animal welfare,” said Sara Amundson, executive director of the HSLF. “Voters in the 11th District who care about the humane treatment of animals should support Rep. Barletta for re-election.”

Barletta has cosponsored several bills promoting animal welfare, including: the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, which protects the human and animal victims of domestic violence and supports the work of battered women’s shelters to accommodate pets; the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which makes malicious animal cruelty a crime on federal property and in interstate commerce, and complements state anti-cruelty laws; the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which strengthens federal law against the “soring” of show horses, whereby caustic chemicals and other painful substances are used to injure the horses’ hooves and legs to induce a high-stepping gait; and the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, which prohibits the slaughter and export of horses for human consumption overseas.

“I am proud to receive the endorsement of the Humane Society Legislative Fund,” Barletta said. “One of my top priorities as a member of Congress is standing up for the most vulnerable among us, including animals. I look forward to continuing to push for commonsense policies that protect animal welfare.”

Barletta’s English cream golden retriever, Reilly, accompanies Barletta in his Capitol Hill office, a practice Barletta began with his collie, Casey, when he was mayor of Hazleton.

“People say that if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog,” Barletta said. “I can’t imagine being in D.C. without Reilly. He’s my best friend. He’s always happy to see me, which is not always the case with people in Congress.”

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Column: Elect Trump to end decades of failed policies

By Lou Barletta

During his first campaign for president, Barack Obama promised the American people “hope” and “change.” Yet, for the past eight years, our government has largely served the interests of everyone except the American worker and family. The Obama-Clinton administration has given us excessive government regulations, rising health care costs, stagnate job growth, weakened national security, and a depleted military.

During the first presidential debate this week with Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton made clear that, if elected president, she would offer more of these same failed policies.

Clinton repeatedly reinforced why her more than 30-year record in politics and stale policy proposals should disqualify her from serving as our next commander-in-chief. On both the economy and national security, the former secretary of state repeatedly took ownership of Obama’s failed policies.

Clinton talked a lot about creating jobs, something she has hardly any experience doing. Clinton has been a politician her entire life. Politicians do not create jobs; at best, they can create an environment in which businesses can grow and hire employees. The policies she is proposing – higher taxes, more regulations, and amnesty for illegal immigrants – would reduce the availability of family-sustaining jobs for American workers.

In fact, only one candidate running for president – Donald Trump – has a record of creating thousands of jobs. He understands how excessive government regulations passed down by unelected bureaucrats in Washington harm small businesses and impede job growth. That’s why he would place a moratorium on all new federal regulations to give our American companies the certainty they need to reinvest in our communities, hire American workers, and allow businesses to expand. Under a Trump administration, we will no longer regulate away our companies and our jobs.

When Mary Grace and I were growing our line-painting business, we experienced how dysfunctional politicians and excessive government regulations can harm the bottom line. We also learned that it is much easier to talk about creating jobs than it is to actually create them. My parents used to tell me to pray when I woke up in the morning and before I went to bed at night. What they forgot to tell me was that, if you own your own business, you should pray on your way to the post office that a check is waiting in the mailbox so you can make payroll.

Our government should not punish the entrepreneurial spirit by making small business owners navigate costly red tape and high taxes.

I ran for office to make government run more like a business. It’s time we elect a president who knows how to do that.

While Clinton lacks a record of creating jobs, she has a long and concerning history of making us less safe. Her tenure as secretary of state was marked by a series of national security fiascoes, from the Benghazi attack that led to the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, to her private email server which left vulnerable our nation’s most precious national security secrets.

Too often under the Obama-Clinton administration, our country has gone easy on terror-sponsoring nations in hopes that they would improve their behavior on their own. Take, for instance, President Obama’s recent veto of a bill allowing victims of terrorist attacks to bring civil lawsuits against foreign states and individuals who sponsor, aid, or abet acts of terrorism on American soil. I voted to override the president’s veto, sending a message to the administration and terror-sponsoring foreign nations that the strategy of coddling bad actors has passed.

Yet, amazingly, Clinton on Monday attempted to defend her role in devising the disastrous Iran Deal – perhaps the low watermark of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy. Clinton called her efforts to award Iran, the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism, with $150 billion and a 10-year path to nuclear capability “diplomacy,” “coalition building,” and “working with other nations.”

Trump has made reversing the Iran Deal and reinstating sanctions a top priority.

If our nation is going to reverse the devastating policies of the last past eight years and reinstate our place as a leader in the world, we must make electing Donald Trump a top priority.

Originally published by the Times Leader.

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Column: As president, Donald Trump will make nation’s security top priority

By Lou Barletta

The federal government’s primary responsibility is to protect our national security, an area where the Obama administration and its former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, have consistently failed.

The Obama-Clinton foreign policy has included unenforced “red lines” in Syria; dismissing ISIS as a “jayvee team” while allowing it to grow into the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world today; weakening our border security; admitting thousands of refugees into our country without any plans to properly screen them; reducing the size and strength of our military, and rewarding Iran – the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism – with a sweetheart deal that paves the way for economic recovery and the eventual achievement of nuclear weapons capability.

Taken together, this disastrous record has made the United States less safe and should disqualify Clinton from serving as our next commander in chief.

Donald Trump is the clear choice for voters who want a foreign policy that will restore American leadership in the world. I recently participated in a national security roundtable with Trump at his campaign headquarters in New York. We discussed strategies for defeating radical Islamic terrorism and keeping America safe. Throughout the meeting, Trump reinforced that ensuring the safety of the American people will be his administration’s top priority.

Unlike Clinton, Trump is committed to fully investing in our national defense. He understands that building a stronger America requires rebuilding our military.

Under President Obama and Secretary Clinton, our military has shrunk to its smallest level since World War II. As president, Trump will rebuild our Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force to levels suggested by national security experts, including the Army’s chief of staff and the bipartisan National Defense Panel. Trump also is proposing to modernize our missile defense system, which has been degrading under Obama’s and Clinton’s watch. Trump is right when he says that we must deter, avoid and prevent conflict through unquestioned military strength.

In addition to strengthening our traditional military standing, Trump wants to improve our cyber capabilities.

As chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, I held a hearing on the consequences of a massive, coordinated attack on the electrical grid. Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate testified that states and localities should be prepared to face weeks, rather than days, of power outages following such an assault.

A Trump administration would guard against this by directing a thorough review of our cyber defenses to identify vulnerabilities, and then develop a plan to immediately protect those vulnerabilities.

If we learned anything from Clinton’s disastrous tenure at the State Department, marked by her record of leaving unsecured our nation’s most sensitive national security secrets on her private email server, it is that we must do everything we can to protect against cyberattacks.

Importantly, Trump will care for the members of our military after their service ends. Trump believes in the fundamental principle that the men and women who serve our country should have easy access to the best quality care; no veteran should die waiting in line for health care. Trump’s plan includes measures to decrease wait times, improve health care outcomes, and facilitate a seamless transition from military service to civilian life.

Trump’s message of taking care of our veterans and rebuilding our military is resonating with voters and national security experts across the country who believe in putting Americans first. Recently, 14 Medal of Honor recipients endorsed Trump’s candidacy, and former Clinton CIA Director James Woolsey joined the Trump campaign as an adviser. Woolsey praised Trump’s commitment to “reinstating the United States’ primacy in the conventional and digital battle space.”

While Clinton thinks that millions of Americans should be placed into what she calls “the basket of deplorables,” Donald Trump has a plan to keep every American safe.

Originally published by the Times Leader.

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Column: Donald Trump’s strategy will restore sense to flawed immigration system

By Rep. Lou Barletta

When I was mayor of Hazleton, I learned firsthand how illegal immigration hurts small-town America. I also learned that the federal government was not going to do anything to stop it.

Like many Americans, I am tired of politicians in Washington who talk about securing our borders and fighting illegal immigration, only to fail to deliver on more broken promises.

Donald Trump is not a politician. He immediately caught my attention as the only presidential candidate to seriously highlight the problem of illegal immigration, correctly pointing out that it threatens both our national security and American jobs. Despite constant attacks by the media, liberal opponents and even members of his own party, Trump has remained committed to addressing this issue. He has laid out a smart plan to enforce our immigration laws, secure our borders and protect American workers.

I became convinced of the federal government’s inability to address the problem of illegal immigration in 2006, when Derek Kichline, a 29-year-old city resident and father of three young kids, was shot and killed while working on his pickup truck. The killer, an illegal immigrant and known gang member, had been arrested and released from custody more than a half-dozen times in New York City – a sanctuary city that refused to honor federal immigration laws.

The first bill I introduced in Congress cracked down on sanctuary cities by withholding federal funding from them until they abandoned these dangerous policies. Yet, even after the murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant and convicted felon in San Francisco, a sanctuary city, politicians in Washington refused to muster the courage to send my bill to the president’s desk.

Ending sanctuary cities is a primary focus of Trump’s candidacy. Trump has pledged to enforce our current immigration laws and withhold funding from sanctuary cities. Trump also will allow federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to do their jobs and deport illegal immigrants with criminal records.

Too often in the debate about illegal immigration, we hear about those who knowingly break our laws and commit further crimes and acts of violence at the expense of law-abiding citizens. By standing tough against illegal immigration and prioritizing the elimination of sanctuary cities, Trump is giving voice to the victims of those crimes.

While Trump’s proposed wall along our southern border will help to stop the unmitigated flow of illegal immigrants into our country, Trump is right to also focus on reforming our broken visa system. Nearly 50 percent of the people illegally present in the United States today arrived legally on a visa, the visa expired, and they never went home. I am encouraged that Trump’s immigration plan includes making overstaying a visa a criminal offense, rather than only a civil offense, and implementing a biometric entry and exit system so we can accurately determine who has left the country and who has illegally stayed – measures I have long championed.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has pledged a radical expansion of President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants – a move that would weaken our border security and place an enormous cost on hardworking taxpayers. At a time when President Obama’s health care law is driving up costs for American workers and families, Clinton is proposing to expand Obamacare to illegal immigrants. And despite testimony by top national security officials that we cannot properly vet refugees coming from Syria, Clinton has called for admitting 500 percent more Syrian refugees.

We have immigration laws for two reasons: to protect national security and to preserve American jobs. Donald Trump’s plan abides by this core principle.

I look forward to helping Trump tackle this critical national security challenge and fight for working Americans.

Originally published in the Times Leader. Read it here.

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Barletta Participates in National Security Meeting with Donald Trump

NEW YORK – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today participated in a national security roundtable with Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump at Trump Tower to discuss strategies for defeating radical Islamic terrorism and keeping America safe.

“Donald Trump today reinforced that ensuring the safety of the American people will be his administration’s top priority and that he has a plan to bolster our national security. We discussed ways to improve communication between federal and local law enforcement so that we can better detect terrorist activity, stop the flow of refugees into our country until we can be certain they do not pose a threat to American lives, and crack down on illegal immigration, including our faulty visa system. Throughout our meeting, Trump was thoughtful, deliberative, and interested in the opinions of those in attendance.

“The distinction between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s national security plans could not be more clear. Clinton has a record of foreign policy failures that threaten our national security and American lives, from her mishandling of top-secret information as secretary of state to her proposal for admitting 500 percent more Syrian refugees without adequately screening them. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has offered commonsense proposals that will keep us safe and has demonstrated that he is not afraid to identify the enemy we are fighting.

I look forward to continuing to work closely with the Trump campaign to create a safer America.”

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Barletta seeks help for grandparents raising children of addicted parents

Originally published in the Citizens’ Voice.

KINGSTON — U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta said Tuesday the country’s social services network is antiquated and changes need to come to help people like grandparents raising grandchildren born to addicted parents.

Barletta, R-Hazleton, met with a few grandparents in the office of attorney David Saba to discuss what can be done to provide financial help for grandparents with limited resources to assure their grandchildren are provided a safe care plan.

“I want to help,” Barletta said. “We have to do more to help these grandparents and their grandchildren, many who were born addicted through no fault of their own.”

Saba and his wife, Brenda, are raising their 9-year-old grandson, Tanner, who they adopted in 2014. The Sabas previously told their story at a meeting of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in October 2014. Dave Saba, 67, said Tanner’s parents were addicted to drugs and after several interventions and failed rehab stays — including jail time — Saba and his wife knew what had to be done.

Following a family meeting with Tanner’s biological father and grandparents, the Sabas sought and were granted custody of Tanner. They said when they were faced with the reality of a difficult situation, they did what they had to do.

Brenda Saba said her situation is not unusual, and there are many others in Luzerne County faced with the same task of raising grandchildren. She said in 2014 in Luzerne County, there were 2,000 custody filings — 60 percent of them filed by grandparents seeking custody of grandchildren. Many of those cases, Saba said, involved drug-addicted parents.

The congressman said he is aware of the problem, noting he has seen statistics that show a baby is born addicted to drugs every 25 minutes. Barletta said he has worked hard to see that those infants are cared for, and people addicted to drugs need to be treated, not incarcerated.

“Addiction is an illness and it must be treated,” Barletta said. “And babies must be taken from their addicted mothers and placed with people who will care for them.”

However, Saba said, many grandparents are on fixed incomes and not eligible for benefits to care for young children. Barletta said he will discuss the situation with U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“These situations have changed family dynamics,” Barletta said. “The family structure has been re-structured.”

Saba said the financial demands of raising a child have restricted her and her husband’s lifestyle and delayed his retirement from his legal practice.

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.

On Thursday, Barletta will co-host a forum in Central Pennsylvania to discuss the growing opioid epidemic facing the state’s communities, as well as the efforts underway to combat the problem. The forum is set for 6 to 8 p.m. at the Rose Lehrman Arts Center at Harrisburg Area Community College.

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Barletta’s Presents Brandon’s Forever Home with Award

Originally published in the Standard Speaker.

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, 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 two years ago in Hazleton by state Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-116, and local attorney Lorine Ogurkis, who each have their own personal experiences with adoption and foster children.

Barletta nominated the group for the honor, awarded each year by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

The Angels in Adoption award is considered prestigious in the world of adoption and foster care.

Read more here.

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The best thing we can do for the future of our country is better the lives of our children. After-school programs like SHINE, which emphasize Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, are doing just that.

SHINE is a data-driven after-school program that works.  Ninety-nine percent of students in SHINE pass to the next grade, while improving their grades, attendance and behavior. I have been a strong proponent of SHINE and even helped to expand its reach from Carbon and Schuylkill counties to Luzerne County.

But because Washington is out of touch, Congress recently moved to eliminate funding for SHINE.

I fought hard to rescue the program. As a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, I successfully negotiated 14 changes to legislation in support of afterschool programs, and specifically SHINE, and repeatedly urged my House and Senate colleagues to sign-on to these efforts.

I am proud to have saved this program that opens up new possibilities for students who might otherwise not even consider their potential.

Last week, I visited the SHINE program at the Carbon Career and Technical Institute and saw kids engaged in hands-on learning. They were building robots, constructing bridges, and developing skills that will help them gain jobs.

SHINE proves that educational decisions are best left to the people who are closest to the students. I look forward to continuing to fight to move power out of Washington, D.C., and back into our own communities.

— Lou

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Letter to the Editor: Challenger wrong about Barletta

I am writing in response to inaccurate claims made by Mike Marsicano about Congressman Lou Barletta in a recent article (Press Enterprise, July 10). As a county commissioner who has worked closely with Lou and his office, I know firsthand that he is making real progress for our communities.

Lou was instrumental in securing a $15 million federal grant for the construction of the Bloomsburg Flood Wall. He brought members of House leadership, including former Speaker John Boehner, to Bloomsburg to tour flood damage and secure support for rebuilding after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. His leadership helped to save nearly 1,000 local jobs.

Lou has conducted dozens of Main Street Tours across the 11th Congressional District, including Bloomsburg, Berwick, Catawissa, Danville, Shamokin, and Mt. Carmel, where he hears from residents and small business owners about what needs to be done in Washington. He always gets his best ideas from people in the real world who make the economy go.

His connection to his constituents is reflected in his work as a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee subcommittee chairman, where he has saved taxpayers more than $3 billion by revamping the way the federal government handles its real estate leases. While bureaucrats in Washington are reckless in seeking to spend every dime they can, Lou has been watching out for the taxpayers of the 11th Congressional District.

And unlike Mike Marsicano, who said “Obama made a good start” with Obamacare, Lou has worked to strengthen seniors’ benefits by working to repeal and replace Obamacare with more affordable options. He continued the fight against the consequences of Obama’s flawed health care law by successfully pressuring the IRS to exempt volunteer fire fighters from the costly Employer Mandate. Without Lou’s leadership, local volunteer fire companies across the country would have been forced to close, risking public safety here at home.

Every time we need Lou, he’s there, and that’s incredibly important to local elected officials like me. I’m proud to support Lou and the work he’s doing for the 11th Congressional District.



Press Enterprise

Published July 14, 2016

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