Published April 7, 2009
Reports surfaced last week that Congressman Tim Ryan is being considered for the post of Lt. Governor when Governor Strickland runs for re-election. Straight to the point: this would be huge for the Valley.
Our biggest problem right now is not at the federal level, though it's no surprise that federal dollars come with mandates that make no sense for cities like Youngstown. From driving residents out of urban areas to fostering suburbian McMansions, federal programs have been favoring sprawl at the expense of that most sensible of lifestyles: dense urban dwelling. Even the dollars that have come to the city have mostly had to be spent on new construction, which of course makes no sense in our current situation.
The state level is where things should be happening for Youngstown and are not. When state dollars get dispersed, they go to Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. Recently, tech dollars distributed by the state even went to Athens before Youngstown. Why?
Our proximity to Cleveland allows it to act as a fiscal black hole, sucking in all the development dollars under the claim that Youngstown and Akron are part of the Northeast Ohio corridor. Not that we're unhappy to play in the sandbox with others, but when Youngstown is used in a grant proposal as part of an area of service, we'd better see the dollars that result from that grant, or we'd better stop getting included.
Ryan understands this. He would be there to tell Strickland that Youngstown and Akron are not getting dollars that go to Cleveland-based programs. We need to be looked at for our unique issues and funded accordingly. Right now, we don't have adequate representation at the state level. Until this changes, we'll remain on the short bus.
So, who should take Ryan's place if rumors prove true? When I hear Capri Cafaro and Anthony Traficanti mentioned as possible successors, I look around to see who's joking.
Bob Hagan asked this of his Facebook Friends (and I'm sure he's asking his real friends as well): "Strong rumor that our great congressman,Tim Ryan, is running as the Lt. Governor [...] If he runs, I am considering running for his seat...What do you think?"
I think Hagan has a shot. Who else should be in the running?