Barletta rules out run for Congress in 2020
HAZLETON — Lou Barletta announced Tuesday that he will not be a candidate for Congress next year.
Barletta, 63, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, said in a news release that he made the decision “after much thought and many conversations with my family.”
“My eight years in Congress are an experience I will always be grateful for,” he said. “There was no greater honor than serving the residents of Pennsylvania in Congress and the residents of Hazleton as their mayor ...
“I will never close the door on any future opportunity but for right now my focus is on starting my new chapter.”
That new chapter is a boutique consulting firm, Pioneer Strategies, which he opened a few months ago. The firm will focus primarily on political campaigns and government affairs.
“I started as a small businessman with my wife Mary Grace and enjoyed every second of growing our line painting business, started with only $29.95, into the sixth largest in the country,” he said. “Reflecting on that period of my life and my time as a public servant I see that there’s a great opportunity to merge my areas of expertise.”
Barletta decided not to run for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 and instead waged an unsuccessful campaign to replace Bob Casey in the U.S. Senate.
He said his many difficult races give him a unique perspective from which to advise a candidate. He also has seen how frustrating and difficult working with the government can be for private individuals as both a small business owner and a member of Congress, he said.
“The goal of my firm is to use the knowledge I’ve gained through my experiences to help others navigate through their journey,” he said.
Barletta issued the release through his revived and refocused Leaders Only Unite political action committee. He said last month that LOUPAC would concentrate on ensuring the nation secures its border with Mexico, including building a wall along the border.
In June, the National Journal in Washington, D.C., reported Barletta was weighing a bid to represent the 8th Congressional District, which meant he would have to take on incumbent Democrat Matt Cartwright. The two had developed a friendship as House colleagues for six years.
Barletta said in response that he was “in a happy place right now” and “not thinking about running.”