For over 10 years, John Callahan has dedicated his life to public service and making his community a better place to live and raise a family. In 1998, he was the youngest person ever elected to the Bethlehem City Council, and in 2003, he was elected as the City's mayor.
John grew up in the Lehigh Valley and has a unique perspective on the issues facing people here in the Valley. During his years in public service, John has demonstrated a proven commitment to creating jobs, promoting fiscal responsibility, and keeping residents safe.
Despite the difficult economic challenges facing Pennsylvania, as mayor, John reduced the City debt by over $60 million dollars and balanced the budget four years in row without raising taxes. John also helped create more than 5,000 jobs and generated more than $2 billion in new private sector investments, with more than $1 billion in new investments on the horizon.
Among his many accomplishments, John led the transformation of Bethlehem Steel - the largest brownfield site in the country - into a business, cultural, retail, and entertainment destination that provides an economic engine for the Lehigh Valley. He also helped to put more police on the streets and significantly reduce violent crime. During John's tenure, Bethlehem was named as one of America's top places to live and to launch a business by Fortune Small Business, as one of the 100 best places in America to live by Money Magazine, and as one of the top 100 cities by the book Best Place to Raise a Family: The Top 100 Affordable Places in the U.S.
John is the President of the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities, serves in the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and is a member of the National League of Cities' Policy Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources. He was also appointed by the Governor to the statewide board of advisors for the Ben Franklin Technology Authority. John serves on numerous local boards including the Board of Directors for the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park and the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation.
He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Minsi Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America and is the Chair of the Urban Scouting Program in Bethlehem. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Society and the Bethlehem Rotary.
John grew up on the west side of Bethlehem and graduated cum laude from Moravian College with a B.S. in Biology. John, his wife Mafalda, and their three children currently reside on the north side of Bethlehem.