Incumbent Mahoning County commissioners easily win re-election
By Peter H. Milliken
Two Democratic incumbent Mahoning County commissioners easily won re-election in Tuesday’s general election, in which both faced Republican challengers.
Winning a fourth term by a 2-1 margin was Anthony Traficanti of Poland, who was challenged by Adam Rutushin of Boardman, a landlord and retired hospital pharmacy supervisor.
Winning a second term was David Ditzler of Austintown, a former Austintown trustee, whose challenger was George Levendis of Campbell, president of Campbell City Council and a bridge-painting superintendent.
The vote was 66.88 percent for Traficanti and 33.12 percent for Rutushin.
The final tally was 63.41 percent for Ditzler and 36.59 percent for Levendis.
“I attribute it to many years of hard work, many years of dedication to the county and to all of my supporters and to all the voters who have trusted me in representing them at the county level,” Traficanti said of his victory.
“My goals will be to continue to make sure the county budget is balanced, to continue to make sure that we provide services and programs to the residents of Mahoning County, continue the restoration that we’ve started of the county courthouse and to continue to make sure that we complete the [new] dog shelter,” which is under construction, he added.
In his campaign, Traficanti listed among his accomplishments passing county sales taxes, getting the county jail fully open, achieving an AA stable Standard & Poors rating for county debt, and combining the county mental health and alcohol and drug addiction services boards.
Traficanti’s challenger, Adam Rutushin, said his experience in managing a staff of 45 as St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital pharmacy operations manager and his experience as owner and manager of 60 apartments in Youngstown and Mineral Ridge prepared him well to be a commissioner. He espoused a philosophy of less government, lower taxes and reduced spending and doing more to help small businesses.
“The whole board of county commissioners has done a good job working together and working on behalf of the community,” Ditzler said of his victory. “We’ve done the difficult things to balance the budget, and we face even more challenges coming up if we lose $4 million” from loss of the sales tax on Medicaid managed-care organizations, he said.
“From a budgetary standpoint, I think we’ve been very accountable. I think the Open Checkbook has shown that we’re being fiscally responsible and willing to show and put all the numbers on line,” he added.
In his second term, Ditzler said he’d like to reopen the minimum security jail for drug-addiction treatment. The voters appreciate the courthouse restoration, new dog shelter construction and racino-tax-funded road paving in Austintown, he said.
In his campaign, Ditzler said his qualifications for re-election included more than 25 years of private- sector sales management and nearly 25 years of combined public-sector experience as an Austintown trustee and county commissioner.
Ditzler’s opponent, George Levendis, also cited his accomplishments in private business and public service.
As a bridge-painting superintendent for APBN Inc. of Campbell since 2003, Levendis said he ensures successful completion of large projects. While he has been Campbell City Council president for the past five years, he said that city has gone from state-mandated fiscal emergency to fiscal soundness with a monetary surplus.