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Lou Barletta announces bid for governor of Pennsylvania

Former mayor & congressman blasts failed leaders, pledges to turn Commonwealth around

Former Mayor and Congressman Lou Barletta today announced that he is seeking the Republican nomination to run for governor of Pennsylvania. Barletta blasted the failed leadership of Gov. Tom Wolf and Harrisburg insiders and said his desire to turn Pennsylvania around is what drove his decision to enter the race. Barletta made the announcement through a video released on his newly launched campaign website at

“My family has lived in Hazleton for over a hundred years. I grew up here, went to school here, worked here, met my wife and raised my family here,” Barletta said in the video. “Our way of life changed dramatically during the pandemic – look, everyone’s did. But here in Pennsylvania, it was made so much worse by politicians – politicians who weren’t just looking to stop a virus, but politicians hell bent on trying to change who we are and how we live.”

Barletta has been traveling the state over the past several months and recently launched a political action committee to elevate discussion of important issues facing Pennsylvania. He heard from individuals, families, and small business owners who were frustrated by the coronavirus response in the Commonwealth and felt that their voices were not being heard by elected officials.

“These politicians – and I’m talking about Governor Wolf and the Harrisburg insiders – they had a disastrous response to the pandemic,” Barletta said. “Wolf squeezed our small business owners and put hard-working Pennsylvanians on the unemployment line. These politicians kept our kids out of school for far too long, and who knows the long-term damage of that. And I’m just going to be blunt about this one, because it’s how we talk here in Pennsylvania: Tom Wolf has blood on his hands for sentencing our seniors to die in nursing homes. It didn’t have to be this way.”

Barletta also identified a number of other issues which will be central to his campaign. He will unleash the potential of Pennsylvania’s natural resources and create thousands of energy sector jobs in the process. He will continue his fight against illegal immigration and oppose sanctuary cities. He will support and fully fund law enforcement agencies. And he will restore voters’ trust in our democracy by fixing the system that injected chaos and uncertainty into our elections.

“The politicians in Harrisburg took too much power. And we all know what happens when you give politicians and bureaucrats more power – they’ll never give it back to us,” Barletta said. “The solutions aren’t complicated. More than anything, we need someone to fight for them and fight for you. So let’s do it. Let’s take back Pennsylvania, together.”

Born and raised in Hazleton, Barletta started his own pavement marking business with his wife, Mary Grace, for $29.95 at age 28, and five years later it was the largest of its kind in the Commonwealth. His first role in public service was serving as a councilman and eventually mayor of his hometown. The lessons Barletta learned as mayor have always stayed with him.

As mayor of Hazleton from 2000 to 2010, Barletta became the first in the country to pass a local ordinance to combat illegal immigration and was promptly sued by the American Civil Liberties Union. Under his leadership, Hazleton was recognized as one of the best-managed cities in the Commonwealth and Barletta was appointed to an international panel on local authorities by former President George W. Bush.

Barletta served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives in the former 11th District of Pennsylvania from 2011 to 2019, solidifying his reputation as a firm opponent of illegal immigration, but also as a leader in good government. As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure committee, he saved taxpayers $4.4 billion through better use of federal real estate and more efficient management of office leases. Barletta was also credited with saving federal funding for after school programs, which had been slated for elimination. He was one of the first members of the House to endorse Donald Trump for president in 2015.

Lou and Mary Grace Barletta live in Hazleton and have four daughters and ten grandchildren.


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