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Candidate Lepore-Hagan gets a little help from Hollywood

Published: Fri, February 21, 2014 @ 12:01 a.m.


Actor Steve Buscemi headlined a political fundraiser for Michele Lepore-Hagan, who is running for the 58th Ohio House District seat. Buscemi’s wife and Lepore-Hagan were college friends who lived together in New York City.




Actor Steve Buscemi, best

known for playing colorful criminals on television and in movies, had a different role during his visit to Youngstown: political supporter.

Buscemi headlined a Thursday event for Michele Lepore-Hagan, who is running in the Democratic primary in May for the 58th Ohio House District. The seat is currently held by her husband, Robert, who cannot seek re-election this year

because of the state’s term-limits law.

The event at Overture at the DeYor Performing Arts Center drew a crowd of about 350 at $50 a ticket.

Michele and Jo Andres, Buscemi’s wife, danced together at Ohio University and shared an apartment in New York City, and along with their husbands have been friends for years. Buscemi and his wife also are close friends with Michele’s sister, Nanette Lepore, a fashion designer, and her husband, Robert Savage, a painter. Nanette designs many of Andres’ dresses, Buscemi said.

“We just all got along and spent a lot of time together,” Buscemi said in an exclusive interview with The Vindicator. “We often had conversations geared toward politics.”

Buscemi said he’s been impressed with Robert Hagan’s political career.

“To have somebody be that progressive and liberal and be proud of it and really work toward certain values” is to be admired, he said.

Buscemi said he always considered the Hagans a team.

“It doesn’t surprise me that Michele is getting in on the act now, as she’s been Bob’s partner,” he said. “Bob’s been the person in the public eye, but Michele’s been his partner through and through. Now it’s time for her to shine.”

When he found out Lepore-Hagan was running for the Ohio House, Buscemi said he volunteered to come to the area to help the effort.

“Any excuse to come to Youngstown,” he said. “I like Youngstown. I didn’t grow up here, but I know the history. It’s gone through some tough times. It was once a real thriving working-class town. It’s not that different from how I grew up in Brooklyn and Long Island, [N.Y.]. These are the people I relate to.”

When asked if he can draw any inspiration from the organized-crime history of Youngstown for characters he plays — including Nucky Thompson, a powerful and corrupt Atlantic City politician during Prohibition on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” — Buscemi said with a laugh, “We had that covered in New York as well.”

But he acknowledged Youngstown’s mob history makes the area “colorful.”

He also remembered that Paulie Walnuts, a character on HBO’s “The Sopranos” — a show on which Buscemi played Tony Soprano’s cousin for three seasons — “did his time in Youngstown” for a gun-possession charge.

Along with a busload of other actors, Buscemi campaigned in Youngstown in 2004 for Democrat John Kerry’s unsuccessful presidential campaign, and was an early supporter of Bill de Blasio, elected last year as mayor of New York City.

Buscemi’s best-known characters on TV and in film are criminals, including memorable roles in “Reservoir Dogs,” “Fargo,” and “King of New York.”

The other Democrats seeking the 58th District seat are Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, Cynthia L. McWilson and Michael E. O’Hara. Like Lepore-Hagan, they all reside in Youngstown. There isn’t a Republican candidate in the race.


1vinglass(295 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Who cares about an endorsement from some goofy Hollywood actor??

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2DonMGirard(3 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

When will this Valley wake up and get rid of these teet sucking parasites. They just want to continue acting famous and travelling around on your dime. This tree hugger will kill the shale boom in this Valley, she is worse than her husband. Wake up this Valley will never grow with the likes of this family.

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3MLC75(661 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

NO TO HAGAN ! She will become another career politician,or as DonMGirard said,a sucking parasitie.

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4UNCOMMONSENSE(626 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Exactly what qualifications does this woman claim to have???

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5Notorious_Pig(117 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

This article is actually pretty funny because nowhere in here does it speak of her "credentials." Ok, so she knows some actor. Big deal. I have Lou Holtz's phone number programmed in my phone, so does that make me more of a "reputable" person? Heck no. Looking at this list of candidates, none of them are actually qualified to represent the district. Just another Dem in office, riding the coat tails of their loser spouse!

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6walter_sobchak(2724 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

I think most commenting here fail to give Ms. Lepore-Hagan her due credit. I believe she has been partners with Buckwheat for 28 years and can still look at his pizza-face. That's something! Quite frankly, the mere sound of the name "Hagan" is like nails on a chalkboard to me. All I can visualize is Buckwheat and his brother, Taxin' Tim, slopping at the public trough with their father, the ultimate hand-out king, passing out more freebies. We have no aristocracy in the US past the Kennedy clan and this seat doesn't belong to a family. I would find it hilarious if the local Democrat Party endorses one of the other candidates in the race. But, I'm not sure the ambulance chaser will permit that to happen.

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7RoddAC(102 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

This is what I find offensive. It is ok to have opinions. It is ok to have differences. It is ok not to agree (you don't have to vote for someone you don't believe in). It is NOT ok to be mean and to call people names and to be so very negative. This is the kind of petty negative stuff that actually harms our society. You may not be aware, but you are feeding the bi-partisan void that is splitting our country. TEHO (To each his own) is what we should all be workinig towards. Silly foolish optimist? Yup and very proud of that. I like being half full.

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8JoeFromHubbard(1810 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Of the few times I've seem Buscemi on TV, he has been in a "creepy" role.

Like so many television programs, this is a replay.

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9NilesOhio(997 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Gotta love ol' "Crazy Eyes."

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10Dagwood(505 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Tarpley, McWilson and O'hara are pulling their funds together for a petting zoo fundraiser at one of the above candidates backyard locations.

Maybe Obama will see this trend and have Michelle run in 2016? Please, Please, Please.....I love giving my money away to the less deserving.

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11walter_sobchak(2724 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Sorry for being intemperate with my descriptions but you may have a point. I will attempt to refrain from using offensive and disparaging terms like "Hagan" and "democrat" in future posts.


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12harleydog(243 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

She is an idiot just like her husband. What qualifications does she have for this position. Then again Obama didn't have the qualifications and the American people elected this idiot twice. Go figure.

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13isaac45(413 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

and all the angry cons come out...thank God, a virulent minority here and the majority of the country

remember, Romney landslide, losers

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14sue(179 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

It goes without saying that she will win the election. She is a Democrat and this is the Mahoning Valley after all. You have to wonder how desperate Bob Hagan is to keep his sticky fingers in state government that he puts up his wife to run in his place. Term limits were put in place to get political hacks out of the system and bring in new blood. What we'll get now is Bob Hagan with lipstick.

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15JoeFromHubbard(1810 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Well, I have to admit, she is much better looking.

In politics and the business world, that helps more than many realize.

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16nojimbo(286 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

This is why the Vindicator is considered a joke by anyone who's read a real newspaper in a real city. Front page story complete with picture granting free advertising worth thousands of $$ for one candidate who's only "credential" is the same last name as the term limited incumbent. But then again this is the same protector of ethics that skewered Engler via an editorial for his tax problems while constantly promoting "Vindy Radio" with their own tax scofflaw Mr. Free.

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