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« Stirfry

Was Mayor Williams snubbed?

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published February 26, 2008

When Barack Obama appeared on the campus of Youngstown State University, more than 6,000 people roared their approval as he stepped on stage in Beeghly Center. Obama had been introduced by a white woman holding a white child, an indication that his campaign is attracting Americans of all races.

But when Obama began his address, he made general reference to YSU officials and area politicians who were in the audience. Perhaps that's his modus operandi.

But wouldn't you think that the son of a black father and a white mother who could well make history by being the first African-American to be the presidential nominee of a major party would want to acknowledge another African-American who has made political history?

Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams and his wife, Sonja, were in the audience, but were not acknowledged by the Democratic candidate.

Williams, as is now nationally known, made history when he was elected mayor in 2005. He added to that record by being the first independent candidate to win in more than 80 years.

Thus the question: Why would Obama fail to recognize an individual who has blazed a political trail in the Mahoning Valley? 

It could well be that he just doesn't see anything to be gained by acknowledging local politicians. Or, a cynic might suggest that Obama, aware of the racial divide that still exists in many parts of this country, did not want to focus attention on the race factor. 

Regardless, his failure to do so struck at least one Youngstown resident as odd.


1portrower8(4 comments)posted 8 years, 2 months ago


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2GaiaGal(1 comment)posted 8 years, 2 months ago

The Mayor's accomplishments are indeed important, especially because he seems to be a man of good caliber with his heart in the right place.

As such an individual, he will be unlikely to let a relatively minor oversight such as this one take his focus off of what's most important here, and of which he is by his endorsement of Obama a part of -- the re-enlivening of America's Democratic electorate.

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3Bacos(1 comment)posted 8 years, 2 months ago

The answer is pretty clear. Obama is running for the DEMOCRATIC nomination. Williams ran and won as an independent. Obabma certainly didn't want to offend the very democrats he is trying to woo by acknowledging a democratic stray sheep like Williams. If Obama gets the Democratic nomination he is more likely to acknowledge Williams and other independents that could help him win the general election.

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4Bad_Samaritan(5 comments)posted 8 years, 1 month ago

Mayor Williams deserves to be recognized as a competent and capable leader. It was disrespectful to snub him and it shows Obama's contempt for those that don't tow the liberal democrat party line. Barrack Obama is Malcom X redux.

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