The two congressional candidates plan to make more public appearances together.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
SEBRING -- Don't be surprised if you start seeing the two Democratic congressional candidates seeking to represent the Mahoning Valley together more and more.
Until recently, U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland of Lucasville, who is running for the 6th Congressional District seat, and Timothy J. Ryan of Niles, who is running for the 17th Congressional District seat, campaigned separately in their own districts.
But the two were together Wednesday at Copeland Oaks Senior Center in Sebring signing a pledge promising to oppose any efforts to privatize Social Security.
Ryan stopped last week at Strickland's Boardman headquarters opening, and both are planning to make more public appearances together.
"We both hope to represent the Mahoning Valley, and it is in the best interests of this area, if we are in fact elected, to have a close working relationship," Strickland said.
Ryan said he considers Strickland and U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, a Lorain Democrat whose district includes western Trumbull County through the end of this year, his mentors.
"I definitely look to them because of their experience in Congress," Ryan said. "We have to work together for the betterment of the Valley. If the Democrats take over the House, and we plan to do that, Sherrod and Ted will be in positions to significantly help the Valley."
Strickland said he is willing to offer whatever assistance Ryan needs on the campaign trail or in the U.S. House of Representatives, if both are elected.
"I can remember painfully what it was like to come to Washington and put a staff together and learn how to deploy them," Strickland said. "All that can be a little intimidating. Tim has an advantage over me because he's done that at the state level. I never held office before going to Congress."
The 12-county 6th District includes Columbiana County and a portion of Mahoning County. The 17th District includes portions of Mahoning, Trumbull, Portage and Summit counties.
Strickland and Ryan said they share similar positions on many issues including labor, guns, trade, Social Security and Medicare.
"I want to be helpful to him, and if he can provide me with help, I will take it," Strickland said. "I would like to see us do more collaborative efforts."
Ryan said he and Strickland face the same challenges to turn around the Mahoning Valley and can best accomplish that by working together.