Rep. Ryan moving on up

On the side

Political fundraiser: Actor Steve Buscemi will be at a Feb. 20 fundraiser for Michele Lepore-Hagan of Youngstown, who is running in the Democratic primary for the 58th Ohio House District seat currently occupied by her husband.

Lepore-Hagan went to school with Buscemi’s wife, Jo, and they still keep in touch.

The award-winning actor stars as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” and has been in numerous films including “Reservoir Dogs” (a personal favorite), “The Big Lebowski,” “Barton Fink,” and “Fargo.”

The event runs from 4 to 6 p.m. at Overture at the DeYor Center for the Performing Arts, 260 W. Federal St. in Youngstown. Tickets are $50 each and can be purchased online at or by calling 33-746-8091.

State Rep. Robert F. Hagan cannot run for re-election this year because of the state’s term- limits law.

Youngstown Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th, and Michael E. O’Hara have also filed for the Democratic primary, and Cynthia McWilson will be filing shortly. Wednesday is the filing deadline for the May primary.

A little over a year ago, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13th, was returning to the House Appropriations Committee.

He’s positioned to likely become the Democrats’ No. 2 member on the powerful committee’s Defense Subcommittee by next year.

Ryan of Howland is currently the fifth-most-senior Democrat on the subcommittee that oversees about $400 billion to $500 billion in federal funding for the military and defense-related contracts for research, development and manufacturing.

But U.S. Rep. Steve Israel of New York, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is on leave from Appropriations and it doesn’t look he’s returning to either stay at the DCCC or move into another leadership post so Ryan is actually the fourth-highest-ranking Democrat on Defense.

U.S. Rep. James Moran of Virginia is retiring after this year, and U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota, who also has more seniority than Ryan, is likely to leave Defense to be the top Democrat on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee in 2015. The current top Democrat on that subcommittee is Moran.

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky of Indiana, the ranking Democrat on Defense, will retain that spot next year.

Ryan’s rise on Defense will likely mean more federal money for the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna, the Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center (the former Ravenna Arsenal), America Makes in Youngstown (previously known as the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which received a $30 million U.S. Department of Defense grant to get started), and defense contractors in the Mahoning Valley.

“It’s a huge subcommittee,” Ryan said. “To be the No. 2 Democrat on Defense would be a big deal. Almost everybody has interest in the defense bill. Also, there’s research money for all three universities” in the 13th District — Youngstown State University, the University of Akron and Kent State.

“The more seniority, the more people pay attention to your district,” he said. “The key is to get to the top of a subcommittee. You help shape national policy and you help your district. Being No. 2 on Defense would be huge for Ohio.”

And the position becomes significantly more important if Democrats are able to gain majority in the House.


The chairmen of the 12 Appropriations subcommittees are so powerful and influential that they are called “cardinals.”

Ryan, first elected in 2002, spent four years on Appropriations before losing his seat on the committee in January 2011 after Republicans took control of the House and lowered the number of Democrats on Appropriations from 37 to 21. At the time, Ryan was the 23rd-most-senior Democrat.

Because of Democratic retirements and others who weren’t re-elected, Ryan returned to Appropriations in January 2013.

There are currently 22 Democrats on Appropriations with Ryan the 17th-most-senior Democrat and moving up. Moran is retiring and others could possibly follow him or lose re-election bids.

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