WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Lou Barletta recently began holding roundtable talks with groups of local experts in the areas of education and business to talk about ideas and best practices he can bring to Washington.

"One of the commitments I made to the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania was that I would take their voices back to Washington with me. These roundtable talks are a way for me to stay in touch with groups of constituents who are experts in their fields, and to get their opinions about current and future regulations and legislation," Barletta said. "The discussions we've had so far have been extremely helpful, and the free flow of ideas and comments between panel members is fantastic."

The small business roundtable discussed how federal overregulation hampers business growth and expansion. Other topics included legislative reform and the different needs of businesses and industries of various sizes.

The education roundtable discussed the pending reauthorization of education legislation and ways to improve the synergy between educational programs. Other topics included ways to ensure that the next generation is being prepared for their next educational steps and their futures.

Barletta will also hold roundtable talks with medical professionals to discuss health care issues.

"Before I vote on a bill or introduce legislation, I want to hear from local experts in education, business, and health care. I want to get their opinions so I can weigh all options before casting my vote," he said. "These roundtable discussions are an important way to open and maintain a dialogue with area leaders so I can better understand the issues that affect them."