Black leaders critical of Democratic chairman Betras

Black leaders critical of Democratic chairman Betras


Local black leaders are strongly criticizing Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras for what they call “attacks and threats” against certain African-Americans.

“The Community Mobilization Coalition” is organizing a news conference for 5 p.m. Friday in front of the county board of elections “to express the African-American community’s outrage to the public embarrassment of our leaders and bully tactics used by [Betras] to force support and endorsement of the party candidate” for Youngstown mayor, according to a news release from the organization.

Because former Councilman Artis Gillam Sr., his wife, Youngstown Councilwoman Annie Gillam, D-1st, and Councilman T.J. Rodgers, D-2nd, are supporting DeMaine Kitchen, an independent candidate for mayor, instead of John McNally IV, the winner of the Democratic primary, Betras removed them from the party’s executive committee. Betras removed Artis Gillam Sr. as the city’s 1st Ward district leader.

Betras said the decisions had nothing to do with race — all are black — and entirely because they are Democratic executive committee members who are openly supporting a challenger to the party’s candidate.

For the complete story, read Wednesday’s Vindicator and

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