Valley needs Ryan in Congress

Even if the Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, as polls suggest they could, Congressman Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, would still be in a stronger position to secure federal dollars and other assistance from Washington for the Mahoning Valley than his two challengers. Ryan’s seniority makes his continued membership on the powerful House Appropriations Committee a certainty.

The Republican nominee in the Nov. 2 race, Jim Graham of Cortland, a political novice, would be one of many freshmen vying for plum committee assignments. The Appropriations Committee would be out of his reach.

The independent candidate, former Congressman James A. Traficant Jr., would be spurned by both parties as a convicted felon who was expelled from Congress before going to prison.

The voters of the 17th District, which includes most of Trumbull County, a portion of Mahoning County, and parts of Portage and Summit counties, would be making a grave mistake by not returning Ryan to Congress so he can continue to build seniority. Years of service on Capitol Hill equate to political influence.

The hundreds of millions of dollars that have flowed from Washington to this region are proof of Ryan’s effectiveness.

Blind opposition

We remain skeptical about Graham’s almost blind opposition to the major Democratic initiatives. His criticism of the health-care reform act is telling, given his first-hand knowledge of how ever-increasing costs have hurt hospitals and other health-care providers.

Like other Republican candidates for Congress, Graham does not present any substantive solutions to the health-care crisis.

If the Republicans take over the House and Senate and keep their promise of rolling back the health-reform act and withdrawing the billions of stimulus dollars yet to be spent, what will happen to the Mahoning Valley? Graham doesn’t say.

Ryan understands that this region has not yet recovered from the demise of the steel industry. He has focused on job-creation and other economic development projects.

Ryan’s fingerprints are on just about every major project in the 17th, from V&M Star’s $650 million expansion, to General Motors’ decision to build its new compact car, the Cruze, at its Lordstown plant.

The Mahoning Valley needs Ryan in Congress, and we strongly urge his re-election.

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