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Home / Speaker Biographies / Franklin H. Lichtenwalter

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Franklin H. Lichtenwalter

Born: March 28, 1910, Palmerton, Carbon County, PA.  Died: March 4, 1973, Harrisburg, Dauphin County, PA.  Member of the House: Lehigh County, 2nd District, 1939-October 14, 1947.  Affiliation: Republican.

Franklin Herbert Lichtenwalter attended the public schools of Palmerton, Pennsylvania, and Upper Saucon Township in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.  He graduated from Allentown High School in 1929.  Lichtenwalter married the former Marguerite M. Stoneback on August 31, 1931.  By 1933 he was engaged in the general insurance business, which he remained in for his entire life.  At the age of 25, Lichtenwalter was elected Justice of the Peace in Upper Saucon Township.  In November of 1938, Lichtenwalter was elected to represent Lehigh County, 2nd District, for the 1939-1940 session.  He was re-elected to 4 more successive terms.

In 1943 Lichtenwalter was the prime sponsor of a bill which granted the Governor of Pennsylvania the ability to suspend or modify laws either in whole or in part under certain circumstances, which became Act 198 of 1943.  Lichtenwalter was the prime sponsor of 2 pieces of legislation that aided in redevelopment efforts.  Act 383 of 1945, known as the Redevelopment Cooperation Law, allowed the State to aid in redevelopment projects to eliminate blighted areas.  Act 385 of 1945, known as the Urban Development Law, also established rules and plans to help in development and created Redevelopment Authorities.

Lichtenwalter was elected as the Republican Leader from 1943-1946.  On January 7, 1947, Lichtenwalter was elected as the 122nd Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The 1947 legislative session was the first full session of the Legislature after the end of World War II.  Lichtenwalter became the first Speaker to hold the position after the war.  Lichtenwalter was Speaker when the rules of the House were amended to reduce the number of Standing Committees through consolidation, from 41 to 32.  As Speaker, Lichtenwalter was the prime sponsor of one piece of legislation that became law:  Act 476 of 1947 regulated and defined certain installment sales of motor vehicles and the loan process related to the sale of the vehicles. 

On September 9, 1947, following the death of Congressman Charles Gerlach, Lichtenwalter was elected in a special election to serve in the 80th Congress.  Lichtenwalter was reelected to the 81st Congress and served until January 3, 1951.  Lichtenwalter worked as the vice president and managing director of the Pennsylvania Electric Association from 1951 until his death on March 4, 1973 in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  He is interred at Saint Paul’s Blue Church Cemetery in Coopersburg, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.


Historical Member Biography

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