Democratic and Repub- lican voters in the Mahoning Valley can rest assured they’re well represented in Congress by Reps. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, and Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th.
Therefore, the May 8 party primaries are a no-brainer when it comes to the re-election of the incumbents.
Ryan, who is being challenged by John Stephen Luchansky of Boardman and Robert Crow of Youngstown, has been in House of Representatives since 2003 and has risen in the ranks of the Democratic caucus.
He made national headlines when he attempted to oust veteran Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California from the position of House minority leader. He failed, but attracted the attention of many Democrats on Capitol Hill and around the country.
Ryan’s committee assignments, especially his membership on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, has been a definite plus for the 13th District, which includes most of Mahoning and Trumbull counties and portions of Portage, Stark and Summit counties.
There are major challenges confronting this region that require the attention of a congressman with Ryan’s influence and political connections.
The uncertain future of General Motors’ Lordstown assembly plant, the push for a missile interceptor base to be located at Camp Ravenna Training Center, lobbying for additional investment by the Pentagon in the U.S. Air Force Reserve base in Vienna Township and the continued courtship of HomeGoods for its distribution center in the Valley are some of the projects that require his expertise.
Neither Luchansky nor Crow sought an interview with The Vindicator’s Editorial Board and, thus, were not considered for our endorsement.
But even if they had met with us, we still would be hard-pressed not to support the incumbent, Ryan. His legislative record and his close ties to local governments and businesses in this region support our opinion of him.
The Vindicator strongly endorses Ryan for the Democratic Party nomination in the May 8 primary.
Likewise, Republican voters in the 6th District, which includes a portion of Mahoning County, all of Columbiana County and several other counties along the Ohio River, should acknowledge Johnson’s standing in the GOP controlled House and his close ties to the White House.
Johnson, who is seeking re-election to a fifth two-year term, was one of the early members of Congress to support Donald J. Trump when he ran for president in 2016.
Trump’s election has given Johnson access to the administration that other Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill do not have.
He remains an unabashed supporter of the president’s and has been rewarded for his loyalty.
There are major projects in the district that require his presence in Washington, including the development of a huge petrochemical plant in Belmont County and the expanded drilling for oil and gas in the Utica Shale Play.
Johnson is also one of the leaders, along with Congressman Ryan, in the effort to export Liquid National Gas. It would be a boon to this part of the state, which has benefited from the exploration of oil and gas.
Johnson is facing Robert Blazek, who runs a small cow/calf family farm in Bellaire, in the Republican primary.
While Blazek has an uphill climb against a popular member of Congress, he argues that he’s a stronger supporter of President Trump than Johnson and poses this question: What will the congressman do in the next two years that he couldn’t have done in the last eight?
However, an objective review of the incumbent’s record shows he has been active in pursuing issues important to the 6th District.
The GOP nominee will face the winner of the Democratic primary that features two candidates: Shawna Roberts, a stay-at-home mother with a bachelor’s degree in English literature, who lives in Belmont; and, Werner Lange of Newton Falls who has a doctor of ministry degree from Ashland Theological Seminary.
Lange did not seek an interview with The Vindicator’s Editorial Board.
Roberts is emphasizing the need to diversify the district’s economy, improve the infrastructure, including changing the funding formula proposed by President Trump and pushing for a quality education system.
We believe Roberts’ primary victory will give Democrats a candidate to rally around in November in the heavily Republican congressional district.
We, therefore, endorse her for the Democratic Party nomination.