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Louis 'Lou' J. Barletta
Birthdate: Jan. 28, 1956
Birth Place: Hazleton, PA, United States
Residence: Hazleton, PA
Religion: Roman Catholic
First Elected: 2010
District: District 11
Undergraduate: Bloomsburg University
Lou Barletta was born and raised in Hazleton, Pa., where he still resides. He attended Bloomsburg University but left to pursue a career in professional baseball.
When that didn't pan out, he returned to Hazleton and launched a pavement-marking business that became the largest of its kind in Pennsylvania.
Barletta, a Republican, won a seat on the Hazleton City Council in 1997. Two years later, he was elected Hazleton mayor. He was re-elected twice as his get-tough policies on illegal immigrants attracted national attention.
Barletta was named Mayor of the Year by the Pennsylvania State Mayors' Association in 2008.
In 2010, midway through his third term as mayor, Barletta unseated 13-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski in the 11th Congressional District in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Barletta and his wife, Mary Grace, have four daughters.
Lou Barletta won election to Congress from Pennsylvania's 11th Congressional District in 2010 on his third try, defeating the same incumbent who had beaten him twice previously.
Barletta was catapulted into the national limelight in 2006 as the mayor of small city Hazleton, Pa., who pushed through an ordinance that sought to deny business permits to companies that employ illegal immigrants and fine landlords who rent to them.
Dozens of towns followed Hazleton's lead and passed their own similar ordinances targeting illegal immigrants. Then-Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, criticized the laws as the "mean-spirited" work of politicians who "feed off hate and divisiveness."
Barletta became a regular on cable TV and talk radio, advocating his view that local governments can't wait for the federal government to act. Yet a federal judge struck down Hazleton's law as unconstitutional in 2007 and it remained in legal limbo in July 2012.
In 2002, Democrat Paul Kanjorski beat back Barletta's challenges by about 14 percentage points. The margin was much closer, barely three points, in 2008. But not even a rally led by former President Bill Clinton could save Kanjorski in the 2010 election, when Barletta unseated the 13-term incumbent by more than nine points.
During the campaign, Barletta endorsed Arizona's controversial crackdown on illegal immigrants, which the U.S. Supreme Court partly struck down in June 2012. At the same time, he broadened his message, denouncing out-of-control federal spending and the 2010 health care reform law.
In June 2012, facing opposition from citizen activist and Democratic nominee Gene Stilp, Barletta's campaign has stressed the immigration issue.
Barletta called the Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona law a victory, even though major parts of it were thrown out, because the justices upheld a provision requiring police to check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons. He also called for congressional hearings on a directive by President Barack Obama's administration that he claims allows federal officials to grant "de facto amnesty" to illegal aliens who should be deported.
In Congress, Barletta sits on the Education and Workforce Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Committee on Small Business.
Source: Associated Press
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