Friday, August 31, 2018
By Graig Graziosi
Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday addressing the declining economic conditions in the Mahoning Valley, offering to do “anything and everything I can” to help the president “keep his word.”
Brown is referencing statements Trump made during a campaign rally at the Covelli Centre last year during which he suggested that jobs “were all coming back” and advised residents not to sell their homes.
In the letter, Brown gives several examples of how economic conditions in the Valley have deteriorated since Trump’s visit to Youngstown.
Brown’s examples include the elimination of the second shift at General Motors Lordstown Assembly Plant and the announcement that the Chevy Blazer would be built in Mexico, a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that the Mahoning Valley has lost more jobs than any other region of the country over the course of the past year and the closure of Northside Regional Medical Center.
“I think when I looked at the time frame that had passed since his last visit where he spoke about helping the area, and saw what had happened – GM’s second shift, the new car being built in Mexico, the North Side hospital – I started saying, ‘Hold on, this is the total reverse of his message for our area,” Brown said. “My focus is to remind him of what he told my community.”
Brown says in the letter that Trump’s message “excited and inspired me because the President of the United States was promising to help make my vision for the city a reality.”
When asked what specifically Brown meant when he suggested he would do “anything and everything” to help Trump keep his word, Brown mentioned that helping to keep the Lordstown Assembly Plant operational and helping to turn the Northside Regional Medical Center into a new VA hospital would be two projects he’d hope to discuss with the administration.
“Regarding the hospital, that’s something I’ve discussed with Congressman [Tim] Ryan, Congressman [Bill] Johnson, both Senators [Rob] Portman and [Sherrod] Brown,” Brown said. “The hospital is a true bi-partisan project, we can all agree it’ll be a great benefit to the Valley and to our veterans.”
Brown said ensuring the longevity of the Lordstown Assembly Plant was not just an issue of local importance but of regional economic importance.
Regardless of whether Trump’s administration agrees to meet, Brown said the economic challenges facing the Valley will require help from outside the region to overcome.
“It’s not something we’ll be able to do on our own, it’s going to take a team effort, but luckily many of those senators and congressmen that I mentioned are on board for the challenge,” Brown said.