The Mahoning Valley can best use its resources as one congressional district, the chamber president wrote.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- With Trumbull County officials favoring a breakup of the 17th Congressional District, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber sent an e-mail to its 1,400 members saying a split would be a bad idea.
Over the weekend, Thomas M. Humphries, the chamber's president and chief executive officer, wrote that the Mahoning Valley can better combine its resources if it is in one congressional district.
Humphries also asked chamber members to send letters to or call state, county and local officials urging them to keep Trumbull and Mahoning counties in one district.
The 17th District consists of Mahoning County, all but the western portion of Trumbull, and all but 300 voters in Columbiana County.
At issue: Mayors in Trumbull County and other county leaders said earlier this month that they wanted to be separated from Mahoning County in a congressional district. Trumbull officials said a split would help their county get more attention and federal funding. Mahoning officials want to keep the district intact; Columbiana officials have been indifferent.
"Regional priorities will not have the same importance with a congressman who may represent a piece of the Mahoning Valley but does not have the facility located in his/her district," Humphries wrote.
In the e-mail, Humphries wrote that if Trumbull is split from Mahoning, it would be "carved up into different pieces," and incumbent legislators getting portions of Trumbull would not necessarily need to court those voters for support.
Humphries also disputed claims by Trumbull officials that their county has not received its fair share of federal funding, pointing to $122 million it has received in recent years.
A redistricting plan is expected to be announced in February. Although many proposals are being thrown out, one that Humphries said has received a lot of attention is putting Trumbull with Lake, Geauga and Portage counties.