Cartwright, Barletta, and Marino sworn into Congress; Casey into Senate
Matt Cartwright, Lou Barletta, and Tom Marino have been sworn into the 213th Congress this afternoon in Washington. Mr. Cartwright is one of 82 freshmen; 47 Democrats and 35 Republicans.
Also today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey was sworn in for a second term in the United State Senate
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney Matt Cartwright becomes the new congressman for Scranton and Wilkes-Barre today, and he got new clothing to mark the occasion, though he won't wear it as he takes the oath of office on the House floor.
Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, Hazleton, visited Cartwright's new office Wednesday on the fourth floor of the Longworth Office Building and turned over the team jerseys donated to him two years ago by the former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Because congressional district boundaries were rewritten last year, Barletta will no longer represent either city so he thought the jerseys should go to Cartwright.
Barletta, who had displayed the jerseys in large picture frames in his Washington office, said he wanted to reach out to Cartwright and let him know "that maybe I can help with anything he needs when it comes to getting acclimated in Washington."
"I had wanted something that represented our area, and I thought he should have it so he had something that reminded him of home," he said.
Cartwright, 51, a Moosic Democrat, said he and Barletta joked about the Yankees jersey because the team has changed its nickname to the RailRiders.
"I said to him, 'Lou, you and I have to actually work together on getting rails to ride,'" Cartwright said, referring to his desire to return passenger train service to Northeast Pennsylvania. "He acknowledged that he was ceding that territory to me that covers the Penguins and the Yankees, and he was lamenting that he doesn't have any professional sports franchises in his new district.
"Barletta and I agree on almost nothing politically, but he gets it. You reach out, you make friendships. No one is more committed to Democratic, progressive ideals than I am, but I like people and Republicans are people, too."
Barletta and fellow Republican Rep. Tom Marino, R-10, Lycoming Twp., will be sworn in for their second two-year terms.
In the U.S. Senate, Sen. Bob Casey of Scranton will be sworn in for a second six-year term.
The jobs pay $174,000 a year.
For Marino and Barletta, today will arrive with less fanfare than January 2011 when they were sworn in for their first terms.
They'll both start the day the same way with a Mass celebrated by a friend, Monsignor John W. Jordan, at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church on Second Street NE, not far from the Capitol,
Unlike two years ago when busloads of friends came down to Washington, Barletta said only immediate family members will join him. He will host them in a new office at 115 Cannon House Office Building.
Redistricting has meant substantial changes for Barletta, who will no longer represent any of Lackawanna County but has added Wyoming County from Marino's district.
Barletta also announced new offices in Cumberland, Dauphin and Northumberland counties.
A new Congress also means a new committee assignment for Barletta.
He has been appointed to the Homeland Security Committee, which oversees border security, anti-terrorism efforts and disaster responses. Most importantly to him, the committee will have a huge say in a new immigration law.
"I'm going to make sure that my voice is part of that discussion and make sure that they do it ... in the proper way and that's to secure the borders first," Barletta said.
Barletta also will remain a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Education and the Workforce Committee. He will no longer be on the Small Business Committee.
Marino's committee assignments remain the same - Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security and Judiciary.
Unlike Barletta, who like Cartwright planned to go through the staged swearing-in ceremony with House Speaker John Boehner after the official one on the House floor, Marino was forgoing the staged ceremony this time and keeping his day low-key compared to two years ago when a host of family, friends and supporters traveled here to celebrate his first day in office.
Marino, 60, whose Washington home is his congressional office where he sleeps on an air mattress, said the last-minute deal to keep the nation from falling off the "fiscal cliff" meant he couldn't spend New Year's Eve with his family for the first time.
"I'm looking forward to spending some time with my family," he said, assuming the House adjourns for the weekend. "It's highly frustrating because of what is going on on both sides of the aisle."
For Casey, his swearing-in for a second term will arrive with a whole lot less fanfare than 2006 when he defeat Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, one of the Senate's top ranked Republicans, in a race that received national attention.
This year, Casey, 52, of Scranton, defeated Republican Tea Party candidate Tom Smith in a race that grew close at one point, but that he eventually won handily. In 2006, Casey celebrated taking the oath of office with two parties, one for close friends and family, and one at the Hyatt Regency with the many people who helped him. Today, fellow Scranton native, Vice President Joseph Biden, will swear him in on the Senate floor, then again later in a staged ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber. Former Sen. Harris Wofford, whom Casey's father, Gov. Robert P. Casey, appointed to the Senate in 1991, will escort Casey to the oath-taking.
"I know my way around the (Senate) building now," he joked of the difference between now and then. "But, no, it's a great honor to be able to serve again."