Born and raised in Hazleton, Lou 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, 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, Barletta was elected mayor three times.
In September 2004, 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. Barletta was also voted Pennsylvania Mayor of the year by Pennsylvania State Mayors Association.
In November 2010, Barletta was elected to Congress on his third attempt. He was reelected in November 2012, and again in November 2014 as well as November 2016. Barletta was first sworn in on January 5, 2011. He served on three House committees: the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he served as the Chairman of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee; the House Homeland Security Committee, where he served on the Counterterrorism and Intelligence subcommittee; and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where he served on both the Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee, and the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee.
In January 2014, Barletta was named a member of a special panel of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to focus on the use of and opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) across all modes of transportation, economic development, public buildings, and infrastructure.
In 2018 after being asked to run by President Trump Barletta made the decision to run for United States Senate in Pennsylvania. Though he did not win the election the opportunity to travel Pennsylvania for a year meeting local elected officials and business owners was an invaluable experience. Barletta and his wife Mary Grace live in Hazleton. They are the parents of four grown daughters: Kelly, April, Lindsey, and Grace, and have ten grandchildren: Gabriel Louis, Madeleine Grace, Julia Mae, Christopher Joseph, Reagan Marie, Jordan Louis, Anabelle
Marie, Ryan Louis, Maria Grace and Gavin Edwards.