Published January 28, 2010
There was a time when a Democratic majority in either the Ohio House or Senate would not have dared snub the Mahoning Valley on an issue touted by the local legislative delegation. But this week's rejection by the Democratic controlled House of Representatives of a casino-related amendment shows just how far the mighty (read that Valley Democrats) have fallen.
The amendment to add Youngstown to a measure pertaining to the relocation of a casino in Columbus was introduced by Rep. Bob Hagan, who has been in the legislature for 23 years. Hagan's bid was tossed out on a 72-25 vote.
Earlier in the week, in the Republican controlled Senate, Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Canfield, suffered the same fate when he introduced the amendment to include Youngstown in the language for a constitutional amendment that will be before the voters of Ohio in May. Last November, voters approved a constitutional amendment permitting casinos at specific sites in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo. Since then, Columbus officials have said they prefer another site for the casino. That will require a second vote by the people.
Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras urged the Valley's legislative delegation to include Youngstown in the new language. But to no avail. The once mighty Democratic region is today nothing more than a braying donkey.
That does not bode well for the Valley.