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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.


1formerdemliberal(182 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

What did Bobby Hagan REALLY do at his wife's fundraiser?

A. Parked cars for undeclared tips
B. Shared a blunt with Steve Buscemi in the little boy's restroom
C. Kept 10% of the political donations for his awesome "hair shirt" US senatorial campaign against Rob Portman
D. Asked his wife to get Steve Buscemi's autograph
E. Told an off-color joke about Dave Betrus
F. All of the above.

Answer(s): A, B, C, D, E , or F

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2UticaShale(854 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

How to plunder our tax trough, Hollywood style, it is not your leadership capability anymore, it is your ability to put on a fictional show.

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3vinglass(231 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

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

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4DonMGirard(2 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week 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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5MLC75(530 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

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

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6Knightcap(700 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

"Meanwhile, things are going on .... under the table kind of things. Not too obvious,but, not too secret, either".

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7walter_sobchak(1912 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week 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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8JoeFromHubbard(1044 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week 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(730 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

Gotta love ol' "Crazy Eyes."

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10Dagwood(111 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week 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(1912 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week 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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12cathylukasko(116 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

Love the Actor, but NOT LIBERAL HAGAN . . . Mahoning Valley does NOT need more negative Hagans to ruin the economy even more than he already has

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13formerdemliberal(182 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

Rumor has it that someone saw Buscemi leave the event with Bobby H's latest screenplay, "The Little Railroad Engine Boy That Could!" under his armpit.

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14isaac45(272 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week 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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15sue(171 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week 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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16JoeFromHubbard(1044 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week 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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17besthopes4ytown(21 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

What in the world does Steve Buscemi have to do with the Ohio State Senate? A publicity stunt to the highest extreme. Is it really necessary to blatantly flaunt their wealth and connections to a community of struggling people? She's going to win regardless, why all the bells and whistles? In her interview on the news she says that by Buscemi coming here "It is a good thing for Youngstown." WHY? A good thing for Youngstown or a good thing for her? Something to think about on voting day.

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18gunr(50 comments)posted 6 months, 4 weeks ago

What makes her qualified? Really?

Did you all notice there's no Republican in the race? If you think there aren't qualified Democrats in the race, why don't you run a Republican, or Conservative or non-railroad engineer or...? Have you checked the required qualifications for political office?
This is a democracy. Any citizen can run as long as they meet whatever state law requires. It ain't supposed to be pretty or perfect. A majority of who votes on election day determines it.
Why don't you all try something instructive or constructive, so we can learn or join or make it better than you perceive it to be?
I suppose if you don't want a democracy, Putin or Castro or some other despot will give you an option.

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