Legislators want Austintown bridge renamed to honor female veterans


Staff report

COLUMBUS

State Reps. John Boccieri of Poland, D-59th, and Michele Lepore-Hagan of Youngstown, D-58th, last week announced the introduction of a bill to officially designate the bridge on Mahoning Avenue spanning state Route 11 in Austintown the Women Veterans Bridge.

The intent is to provide Mahoning County with a commemorative landmark like the one already in Trumbull County honoring the contributions of female veterans.

The idea for the legislation came from former Disabled American Veterans District 7 Commander Leo Connelly, who approached Boccieri about the idea a couple of weeks ago. Connelly also worked with state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd, to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.

If the legislation is adopted, the bridge would be only the second in the state honoring female veterans, bill sponsors said.

“Women played a significant role in all of our nation’s conflicts, and this bridge memorial is one way to mark their contributions,” Boccieri said. “From battlefields to bond drives, women veterans have served faithfully to help earn our nation’s freedoms. It is only fitting that the Legislature mark their sacrifices,” he said.

“This bridge-naming is a recognition of the women past, present and future who have dedicated their lives to service for our country. I am honored to be able to help shed light on the selfless sacrifices these women made as a part of our armed forces.” Lepore-Hagan said.

Boccieri and Lepore-Hagan’s legislation, which has 13 bipartisan cosponsors, is likely to be assigned to the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee next week.

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