TRUMBULL COUNTY Board won't join debate on split for 17th District

Commissioners disagree on the pluses of splitting the district.
WARREN -- After weeks of discussion and a meeting with state legislators, Trumbull County commissioners have decided not to formally express an opinion for or against splitting the 17th Congressional District.
"Basically, I think Gov. Taft will do what he wants, what is good for the Republican Party, and I don't think letters from this board one way or the other is going to change that," said Commissioner Joseph J. Angelo Jr.
The issue was raised several weeks ago, when officials of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce asked the commissioners to add their names to a letter to Gov. Bob Taft, requesting that the district remain intact.
State's obligation: The state is obligated to redraw congressional districts every 10 years, based on population figures from the census.
Ohio will lose one of its 19 congressional districts because the state's population did not keep pace with the rest of the country.
The 17th District, represented by Poland Democrat James A. Traficant Jr., includes all of Mahoning County, all but 300 voters in Columbiana County, and all but the western portion of Trumbull County.
Angelo said no letters will be sent, and Commissioner James G. Tsagaris said that no further meetings on the issue are planned.
"The governor probably already knows what he is going to do," Tsagaris said. "I'd like to know what that is."
The Republican-controlled state Legislature must finalize the new district boundaries by mid-February to make the filing deadline for next year's primary election.
Disagreement: Commissioners disagree about whether splitting the congressional district would be good for Trumbull County.
Angelo said that having more than one congressman would benefit the Valley, while Commissioner Michael O'Brien said splitting the district would undermine cooperation between Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

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