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Loss of aircraft, jobs at 910th is a call to action by the area



Published: Sun, December 1, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Does it make any sense for the federal government to have invested hundreds of millions of dollars on the expansion of the air reserve base in Vienna Township, only to turn around and reduce its operational capability? No, it doesn’t. But that’s what will occur unless decision-makers at the Defense Department change their minds.

What would prompt them to take another look at the reassignment of four C-130 cargo planes from the Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s 910th Airlift Wing? The answer: A call from the White House.

There’s a reason President Obama should take an interest in what’s going on at the base: Politics.

In the last presidential election, Obama won Mahoning County with one of the highest vote percentages in the state: 63.1 percent of the 119,171 voters who cast ballots in 2012. His opponent, Republican Mitt Romney, didn’t come close. Likewise, in 2008, Obama garnered 61.4 percent in Mahoning County in his race against Republican John McCain.

Elections have consequences, and the residents of the Mahoning Valley expect the president to show his appreciation for the support he has received — and continues to receive — from this predominantly Democratic region.

Indeed, as the titular head of the national Democratic Party, Obama can’t be blind to the reality of the 2014 statewide election in which the Ohio Democratic Party is attempting to unseat Republican Gov. John Kasich and the statewide GOP officeholders.

In addition, the ever important congressional elections will take place against the backdrop of the highly controversial Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Turnout in Mahoning and Trumbull counties will be key to the party’s political fortunes next year.

IMPORTANCE OF AIR BASE

The Youngstown Air Reserve Station is one of the most important cogs in the Mahoning Valley’s economic wheel.

In addition to being home to the 910th Wing, the base also accommodates Navy and Marine units. In the 2012 Defense budget, the facility was authorized to have 1,348 Air Force reservists, 250 full-time Air Reserve technicians, 190 Air Force Department of Defense civilian employees and 184 Navy and Marine Corps members.

The base, adjacent to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, has attracted millions of dollars in federal government investment — with good reason. The 910th Airlift Wing is the only fixed-wing aerial spray unit in the Defense Department.

The facility pumps $100 million a year into the local economy, making it as important as the General Motors Co.’s Lordstown assembly facility and the new $2 billion Vallourec steel pipe-making complex.

Thus, any reduction in operational capability will have a negative economic effect on the Valley.

If the reassignment of the four C-130 Hercules cargo transport aircraft is not reversed, 50 full-time and 150 part-time jobs will be lost forever.

Those jobs must be saved, if for no other reason than to put a stop to the cannibalization of the air reserve base.

Congressman Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, who like his predecessor, James A. Traficant Jr., has made the base a priority, noted that the Defense Department made the decision to reassign the aircraft “regardless of the fact that YARS airmen have been doing an outstanding job and the base has the infrastructure to support additional planes and additional military and civilian jobs.”

Ryan, a member of the House Appropriations and Budget committees, pledged to continue to push for long-term investments and manpower increases.

Ryan should convey his disappointment at the reduction of the facility’s capabilities to the White House. The congressman should remind the president’s political advisers that Mahoning and Trumbull counties have been with him all the way, even when other Democratic regions of the state and nation have been abandoning him.

COALITION NEEDED

Political, business and community leaders should join forces with Ryan in putting together a campaign to, first and foremost, persuade the Obama administration to revisit the aircraft reassignment decision, and then to develop a strategy for bolstering the air base’s capabilities.

The leaders should seek a meeting with former Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, who is now with the Obama White House, to provide guidance on how to lobby the administration.

There is an ironic twist to the decision by the Department of Defense: while the reduction in aircraft from 12 to eight was being announced, a new $600,000 Air Force Reserve recruiting center at YARS was unveiled.

The federal government does, indeed, work in mysterious ways.


Comments

1RightofLeft(41 comments)posted 10 months, 3 weeks ago

This area is so solidly (ignorantly) Democrat, that the national (and local) Democratic party can count on a solid "D" vote no matter what they do or don't do to us. We have seen this area lied to and ignored over and over again. We just don't learn. Little Timmy is about useless in Washington; and what has the "Car Tsar" done to help his home valley? The only answer that has any hope of helping us and our children is: MOVE OUT of HERE.

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2Photoman(1005 comments)posted 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The Democratic Party to which I have belonged and supported for many years is no longer a party which respects neither the constitution or the American public. Sadly, I keep seeing my party allowing a person I consider to be a wannabe dictator stripping us of all rights, one by one. What's coming down the road will reduce us to a third world nation-a nation of enslaved people. There will be no more "freebies".

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3NoBS(1963 comments)posted 10 months, 3 weeks ago

There is no leadership in Washington. Period.

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4dmacker(287 comments)posted 10 months, 3 weeks ago

We need only to look at what this area has received from this and previous Democratic administrations in return for it's support at the polls.
Office seekers have learned that the voters will support them blindly regardless of anything they do for the Mahoning Valley.
Keep electing them to office and they will continue sticking it to us.
We keep doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome......insanity comes to mind.

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5redeye1(4564 comments)posted 10 months, 3 weeks ago

If everyone would look at the stats of different cities and states throughout the country that have been and still are under democratic control, they are either going to be filing bankruptcy or already have. They also have some of the highest crime rates, unemployment rates , taxes etc. in the nation. But as long as they keep GIVING the low IQ voters freebies they will continue to control the real intelligent people of these places too.

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6kurtw(876 comments)posted 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Familiar scenario. We get shafted by a Democrat Administration that we helped elect and it's time to go "hat in hand" to Washington asking them to "reconsider". We in the Mahoning Valley are such Ignorant A--holes- will we never learn? I guess not.

P.S. Remember the old character out of the movies in the 30's that insulted Black People- "Stepin Fetchit" - that's us Youngstowners- Stepin Fetchit for the Liberal Democrats- We are such incorrigible A--holes!

Bottom Line: If you give your Vote Away Free- why should anybody pay for it- it's that simple. I'd like to see us all become "Independents"- saying to both sides- if you want my vote- what can you do for me to earn it?

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7kurtw(876 comments)posted 10 months, 3 weeks ago

You know- your editorial addressing this issue is pathetic- that's the only description I can think of. Why don't you just tell people the truth- that there is no way to get any kind of traction in Washington dealing with people who already have you in their hip pocket. That's us- the bozos and schlemiels of the Mahoning Valley who- every time a Dem shyster politician comes along- drop our pants, grab our ankles and let him do- you know what.

Stepin Fetchit, to describe us, is too mild a description. And your suggestion- getting Jay Williams- of all people, who dumped Y-town the minute he smelled a better opportunity with Obama- to "intercede" for us ("provide guidance how to lobby the administration") is beyond pathetic, it's demeaning- an insult to the people of the Mahoning Valley who elected these clowns that lose no opportunity to kick us in the nuts- knowing that we let them get away with it.

P.S. I have a suggestion: Considering the poor quality of many of your recent editorials- this one, especially- you might consider asking Dennis Mangin to come back- at least part time- to give assistance to whoever your head editorial scribbler is now. I didn't always agree with Mangin, but his work was beyond reproach- solidly written and persuasive.

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8kurtw(876 comments)posted 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I did a little checking on the internet just now and there's a rumor going around in Publishing Circles that some of the Vindy Editorials lately- including this one- have actually been "ghosted" by a major writing talent on loan from a slick Eastern Publication.

It's Alfred E. Neuman on loan from Mad Magazine!

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9borylie(791 comments)posted 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I've been saying this for years. Without the media doing their job and keeping all politics under close scrutiny and exposing these people for what they are,the politicians will always be corrupt. The Vindicator's editorials are obviously slanted left,which is their right,however their opinions also influences how they present the news or what they don't even print. The Vindicator is either afraid of the democrats or one of them. We the people lose.

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