Government Neighbors

Upper Makefield Attorney Appointed To Commission By President Biden

The local lawyer has been appointed to a federal role.

John Cordisco in his law office last week.
Credit: Tom Sofield/

When John Cordisco was growing up in Bristol Borough in the 1950s, he never could have foreseen what was to come. The latest chapter in his life sees him appointed to a federal role.

Cordisco, a resident of Upper Makefield Township, has been appointed by President Joe Biden to serve as a commissioner for the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad. The commission is tasked with overseeing cemeteries, monuments, and historic buildings in Eastern and Central Europe that are associated with the heritage of U.S. citizens, according to the White House.

Cordisco’s career spans decades of public service and legal practice. He has served as a Bristol Borough School Board member, a state representative, a member of the Bucks County Community College Authority, on the SEPTA Board of Directors, the chair of the Bucks County Democratic Committee, and both a small-town lawyer and a partner at the prominent regional law firm of Cordisco and Saile.

Despite the many roles he has undertaken, Cordisco is particularly honored by his latest appointment.

“This means a lot, and it’s a new level,” Cordisco said. “I’m really honored. A kid from Bristol did this.”

Cordisco hopes his journey serves as an inspiration.

“I want kids to see this and know this is what every kid in Lower Bucks County can do,” he added. “This is a great country. You just have to believe.”

Cordisco said he is looking forward to working to shape the government agency as it carries out its important mission in preserving history and heritage.

Among the projects the agency has handled are memorials to the Armenia genocide, protection of Jewish cemeteries, marking victims of the holocaust and the camps where they were killed by the Nazis, sharing history, and ensuring a safe future for sites that have served as mass graves.

The chair of the commission is presently attorney, author, and TV host Star Jones, who serves alongside agency staff and 20 commissioners.

Cordisco will serve on the commission until February 27, 2025.

For Cordisco, being nominated by Biden, a longtime friend, was extra special.

Cordisco recently saw Biden at a political event in Virginia and thanked him for the appointment.

“I’ve known him for three decades,” Cordisco said of the president. “We just hit it off and he’s a down to Earth guy.”

Joe Biden at an event with John Cordisco.

Cordisco said he remembers riding an Amtrak train with Biden two decades ago and talking about how the two men, who were raised by working-class families, were doing more than they ever imagined possible.

Growing up on Lincoln Avenue in Bristol Borough, Cordisco recalls his father’s job being on strike and his mother raising him and his siblings. He aspired to be an attorney, inspired by TV shows, and remembers his mom wishing him “good luck.”

“My grandfather always said to believe,” Cordisco reminisced.

His grandfather started to see that belief pay off as he sat next to Cordisco in Harrisburg as he was sworn in as a 24-year-old state representative.

A newspaper clipping showing John Cordisco, with his grandfather in the background, being sworn in as a state representative.
Credit: Tom Sofield/

Despite challenges at times, Cordisco achieved his dreams.

“You had people always looking down on Bristol,” he said. “You had to fight.”

“I saw presidents on TV and it felt so removed. I remember watching JFK, but I never thought I’d know a president,” Cordisco explained.

The lawyer’s office features a photo with President Obama, and he recently caught up with President Bill Clinton and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, both know him well.

While many high schoolers were goofing off, Cordisco worked in a factory to pay his Bishop Egan Catholic High School tuition. When his friends were at college parties, he attended night school.

“It was a lot of hard work. I missed out on some things then,” he said.

John Cordisco talking to Gov. Wolf in 2017.
Credit: Tom Sofield/

Cordisco credits his large family, close-knit group of friends, those who believed in him, and his determination for his success.

As he steps into his role as a commissioner, he will continue his legal practice but plans for politics to take a backseat.

For Cordisco, the appointment by the president is not just a new role—it’s a culmination of his career and determination.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for 12 years for both newspaper and online publications. Tom’s reporting has appeared locally, nationally, and internationally across several mediums. He is proud to report on news in the county where he lives and to have created a reliable publication that the community deserves.