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Party, Chamber bury the hatchet

Published: Tue, July 26, 2011 @ 12:12 a.m.

By Karl Henkel



After months of back-and-forth, the feud between Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras and Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber President Tom Humphries appears to have ended.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, announced an agreement Monday between Betras and Humphries, who have clashed since Humphries publicly backed now-Gov. John Kasich and Senate Bill 5.

SB 5 curbs some collective-bargaining rights for public employees. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted certified last week the referendum on SB 5, which means it will appear on the November ballot.

Betras told The Vindicator on Monday that he now is focusing his efforts on repealing the bill, which he said would harm working class families.

“It’s on the ballot, and we’ll try to repeal it,” he said.

And if it’s not repealed?

“Then we’ll deal with it,” he said. “But I’m hoping that’s not the case.”

In a release, Humphries and Betras both said they are willing to put aside ideological differences for the betterment of the Mahoning Valley.

“While Mr. Betras and I won’t always agree on every issue facing the Valley, Ohio and the nation, I know that he wants to see our community grow and prosper as much as I do,” said Humphries, who did not return a call seeking additional comment. “We can only succeed in bringing investment and jobs to our community if leaders provide a united front, whenever possible, for that purpose.”

Betras previously had called for Humphries to rescind his pro-SB 5 statements. He later called for his resignation and even challenged Humphries to a public debate. On multiple occasions, Betras requested copies of the chamber’s financial documents, questioning how the chamber used taxpayer dollars.

Humphries, meanwhile, refrained from engaging publicly with Betras, except on one occasion in May, when he responded to a Betras record request by sending copies of the documents to media outlets.

Those documents showed that the chamber received about $400,000 in federal, state and local taxpayer dollars in 2009, the latest available year in which tax documents are publicly available.


1Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 5 years ago

I think it is funny the guy who picked this fight is the one calling the truce. Betras isn't calling this truce for his health, and I doubt he is doing it for the Mahoning Valley's sake rather than for his own.

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2author50(1121 comments)posted 5 years ago

Now it's going to be real quiet out here in political land without Chairman Betras throwing those Molotov Cocktails at the Chamber (which he was right in doing).

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3Tony_A(13 comments)posted 5 years ago

Anyone who deals with Betras knows he is the worlds biggest liar. Humphries needs to watch his back since Betras can't help himself and he will start talking again.

I congratulate Humphries for not using all of the personal and professional dirt he has on Betras and making it public.

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4faith(200 comments)posted 5 years ago

Anyone who knows Humphries knows he is the worlds biggest liar. His objective is personal gain.

I congratulate Tim Ryan for putting the Valley ahead of politics.

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5ConservativeDude(36 comments)posted 5 years ago

Betras was not professional enough to go back in fornt of the camera's. He went in front of the cameras to call out Humphries, but he was not professional enough to go back and bury the hatchet, on camera.

Humphries is the true professional.

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6AtownAugie(892 comments)posted 5 years ago

Tom? A piece of unsolicited advice: if Betras is close by when you drop your keys, do not bend over to pick them up.

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7taxpayer1001(274 comments)posted 5 years ago

Betras only did this because he looked like a fool calling him out that way and getting no response. Not only did he not step down, he didn't give Betras the time of day to even respond! Gotta love it. Betras with his tail between his legs

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