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Mahoning Dems elect attorney as party chairman

Published: Tue, April 28, 2009 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Katie Seminara

A Boardman man is the new Mahoning County Democratic Party treasurer.

YOUNGSTOWN — Unity was the message of the night in speeches by candidates for Mahoning County Democratic Party chairman Monday.

Three candidates sought votes, but Atty. David Betras of Canfield won the position. “It’s a huge responsibility, and tomorrow I’ll begin working very hard,” said Betras after receiving the majority of votes from about 200 of the party’s precinct committee members. Some 247 committee members were eligible to vote.

Betras said two of his main goals are to find the most-qualified Democrats to reinvigorate Mahoning County and to deliver the necessary Democratic votes on the state and national level.

People in the party need to stop identifying themselves as this type of Democrat or that type of Democrat, he said.

“Bringing us together is my primary goal,” Betras said.

The two other candidates were: Jaladah Aslam of Austintown, the party’s vice chairwoman of labor relations and a member of the Ohio Democratic Party state executive committee; and Mike Klim of Poland, a former New Middletown mayor and councilman and vice president of the South County Democrats, a local political club.

The chairman position opened up after county Treasurer Lisa Antonini resigned April 10 as party chairwoman after nearly seven years.

The party’s precinct committee members also elected a new party treasurer. The post had been vacant since Donna Wilson resigned about six months ago.

Richard Clautti, a precinct committeeman from Boardman, won the position and echoed Betras’ call for unity in the party.

“We need to unify and get strong,” said Clautti, adding “We also need to get more young people involved.”

Clautti owns and handles the finances and daily operations of both Remco Security and Remco Construction, he said.

The two other candidates on the ballot for treasurer were: Janet Kust, a precinct committeewoman from Campbell and the office manager at Betras’ law firm, and Beth Stanko, a Boardman precinct committeewoman and longtime party activist.

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