Dem officials back Betras for party chair

By David Skolnick


Numerous Mahoning County elected officials are urging members of the county Democratic Party’s central and executive committees to re-elect David Betras as their chairman.

“We want to make it clear that our confidence in and support for David isn’t based on personal loyalty or friendship,” the letter sent Thursday to members of the committees reads. “It is based solely on our respect and appreciation for all he has achieved during his tenure as our chair. His decision to reinstitute primary endorsements via an open, fair and impartial process has revitalized and reinvigorated the” party.

Among those signing the letter are every elected county Democratic officeholder, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, the county’s three state legislators, Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally, Youngstown Clerk of Courts Sarah Brown-Clark, ex-Youngstown Council President Jamael Tito Brown and Joyce Kale-Pesta, the area’s state central committeewoman and county board of elections director.

“Yes, some of us have had very public disagreements with him over the years, but at the end of the day, we recognize that although he is sometimes brash, he is forthright, honest and acts with the utmost integrity,” the letter reads. “As officeholders and citizens, we cannot ask for more.”

Betras said he was “very grateful for their vote of confidence. I’m quite touched to get everyone to sign this. I’m very thankful for this.”

The party will have a reorganizational meeting after the May primary to elect the chairman and other leadership positions. Betras said he doesn’t expect opposition.

Betras was elected April 27, 2009, as chairman to fill the unexpired term of Lisa Antonini. He was elected to a full four-year term June 2, 2010.

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