By the time Lou Barletta landed in Washington he was already known nationally as a voice in the immigration debate. Due to his outspoken views on immigration reform as mayor in Hazleton, the Republican was targeted by both sides, as the face of immigration reform by his own party and the face of xenophobic views by Democrats.
He got to Washington by unseating long-time Democratic Representative Paul Kanjorski in 2010 and now, after winning reelection in the fall, is establishing himself as a national figure in the Republican Party for his stance.
Since he has arrived in Washington, Barletta has taken on an even greater role, one that thrust him into the spotlight over the weekend.
Days after making the rounds in the 11th district, including a stop in Sunbury, Rep. Barletta, stood toe-to-toe against an obviously stacked panel on This Week, a national Sunday show hosted by former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos. There he squared off with likes of Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winner in economics and opinion writer for the New York Times, and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos.
What makes Barletta a favorite of many is his forthrightness, a feature that is evident even against heavy hitters in the political world. Barletta's long-time argument when it comes to immigration is that a policy where existing laws are not enforced, no matter what the rest of the path to citizenship looks like, will not work. Or, in Barletta's words on Sunday, "you wouldn't replace carpet in your home if you still have a hole in the roof."
Simple. Right to the point. That's our guy, our representative making logical and sensible points to a national audience on a national stage. When was the last time that happened?
There are a lot of politicians on both sides of the aisle that can't make logical and sensible arguments about anything, let alone on a topic as red-hot as immigration. And on Sunday Barletta did it when, at times, it seemed like it was four against one.
Whether or not you agree with Rep. Barletta's views on immigration, or other issues for that matter, is not the point here. The point is that Lou Barletta gives people from Sunbury or Danville or Mount Carmel or Hazleton, a voice that stretches well beyond the borders of the 11th district. It's a voice we can be and should be proud of.