Barletta Looks To The Future At Charity Book Reading
WILKES-BARRE — U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta joined state Sen. John Yudichak Thursday afternoon for what likely was his last event as an elected official promoting the Luzerne County after-school SHINE program.
Barletta, R-11, Hazleton, and Yudichak, D-14, Plymouth Twp., helped launch the program four years ago, and Barletta will no longer serve in U.S. House of Representatives next month. Barletta didn’t run for another House term and lost the November election for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Barletta and Yudichak joined Caroline Jones of Mountain Top to read from a children’s book they wrote. “We Saved the Bees and Butterflies” focuses on the importance of STEAM, or science, technology, engineering, arts and math, and sale proceeds will benefit SHINE — Schools and Homes in Education.
They read to more than two dozen children from the SHINE program at Heights-Murray Elementary School in Wilkes-Barre during an event at the Barnes and Noble in Downtown Wilkes-Barre. Jones said they started working on the book when she interned for Yudichak two summers ago.
“It’s so great seeing a Republican and Democrat coming together,” said Jones, who graduated this year with degrees in business management and marketing from King’s College and also has written other children’s books.
Before reading to the students, Yudichak said a few words about Barletta.
“I want to publicly thank Congressman Lou Barletta, my dear friend, who has been a partner in SHINE from the beginning. He will be leaving public life shortly, going onto the bigger and better things. There has been no greater champion at the federal level than Lou Barletta.”
Barletta also spoke before the book reading.
“What a way to finish time in public office with something that probably means more to me than anything else I have done in eight years, and that’s to be with the SHINE program,” Barletta said. “For the senator and I to get on board and see a program that helps so many people and say the unthinkable, ‘let’s try to do that in Luzerne County.’”
After the reading the book to the children, Barletta said he has no immediate plans after leaving Congress, other than spending time with his family.
“It’s been a long run,” he said. “I’m going to take rest and see what’s next for me.”
Barletta said he plans to go back to Washington D.C. one more time this month to vote on a budget resolution. He said he thinks Congress will avoid a government shutdown by passing “another extension” to fund the government into January.
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