WILKES-BARRE, PA – Yesterday, within minutes of Congressman Paul Kanjorski’s announcement that Northeastern Pennsylvania was under consideration to be the home for the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC), Lou Barletta issued a press release vowing to fight against the Center, which would employ up to 1000 federal employees.
“I realize that Mayor Barletta is increasingly desperate to leave behind the mess he created in Hazleton and will do almost anything to win in his third race for Congress,” said Ed Mitchell, Kanjorski campaign spokesman. “But even I never thought he would stoop so low as to oppose the creation of up to one thousand solid, good-paying jobs for Northeastern Pennsylvania. Shame on Lou Barletta.
“Lou Barletta is always ‘Mr. No’ when it comes to any jobs or progress that Congressman Kanjorski proposes. He would fit right in with the ‘No’ mentality of Republicans in Congress.”
“In his hastily drafted, incendiary press release, Barletta recklessly attempts to inflame opposition by portraying the training center as a ‘military-style training camp’ and a ‘bomb range’ that would ‘put residents of this district in danger.'”
“The center is nothing close to that. No one will be in danger, or even inconvenienced,” said Mitchell.
“In fact, the training center would employ between 850 and 1000 permanent federal employees and would annually train 10,000 students who work for Diplomatic Security, the division of the State Department that is responsible for protecting the safety of Americans overseas at U.S. Embassies and other American installations.
“Aside from the jobs, there will be ancillary benefits like a boost to our hotel and restaurant businesses.
“Apparently there is no limit to how low Lou Barletta will go with his dangerous demagoguery. He is even willing to oppose the American heroes who risk their lives to protect American personnel and facilities overseas.
“Perhaps most disturbing is the speed with which he attacked this project; he clearly thought he could score quick political points against the Congressman without taking the time to learn anything about this project,” said Mitchell. “Lou Barletta is not on our side. He’s always for the status quo. No wonder Hazleton has the highest unemployment rate in the state.”