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Biography

Joseph R. Pitts

Photo of  Joseph R. Pitts Joe Pitts is a sixth-term Congressman who represents the 16th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, a district that stretches from the far western suburbs of Philadelphia in Chester County, north to Reading and Berks County, and west into the rolling countryside of Lancaster County famous for its Amish and Mennonite culture.

The son of an Army officer, Pitts spent several years of his youth living in the Philippines. He attended Asbury College in Kentucky and received his Master's Degree from West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He served in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1969, rising to the rank of Captain and flying 116 combat missions as a navigator and electronic warfare officer in Vietnam.

After spending time as a high school math and science teacher, in 1972, Pitts began his service in the Pennsylvania state legislature. During his 24 years in Harrisburg, he served as chairman of the Labor and Industry Committee. He was then chosen by his colleagues to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee for eight years.

In 1997, Pitts was sworn into Congress, replacing Congressman Bob Walker as representative of Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District. During his time in Congress, he has served on the Transportation, Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. Now in his sixth term, Pitts has taken leave from the Foreign Affairs Committee to focus his efforts on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, the oldest and most prestigious committee in Congress.

Both as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and apart from it, Congressman Pitts worked hard to champion human rights and humanitarian efforts around the world. He has coordinated humanitarian aid to Western Sahara, Pakistan, and many other countries.