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« Stirfry

How will Dem chairman top Chamber chief?

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published April 22, 2012

Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras has been trying to persuade the Obama re-election campaign to bring the president, vice president or some other top national Democrat to the Mahoning Valley to get the party faithful excited about the November general election.

But Betras has not had much luck. So, you can imagine his embarrassment when one of the top officials of the U.S. Department of Transportation came to Youngstown for a White House-sponsored roundtable discussion at the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber. Yes, the same chamber led by Tom Humphries, who has had a very public war of words with the Democratic Party chairman.

Humphries’ support of Republican John Kasich during the 2010 gubernatorial election in which Democrat Ted Strickland was seeking a second four-year term, and his endorsement of the collective bargaining reform law pushed through by Gov. Kasich and the Republican controlled General Assembly has made him Enemy No. 1 in Betras’ book. That’s why the chairman goes ballistic every time he thinks about Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari being sent by the Obama administration to the regional chamber. So long as Humphries is the chief executive officer of the chamber, the business organization will be pro-Republican, Betras contends.

He wants the Obama re-election campaign to understand that this predominantly Democratic region needs a headliner to get its political juices flowing. There are a lot of white, blue-collar workers who either stayed home in 2010 or voted for Kasich and the statewide Republican ticket. Strickland and the Democrats needed those voters in large enough numbers to secure victory. It didn’t happen, and now the Republicans control every statewide office and the Legislature.

The Mahoning County Democratic Party chairman simply wants the president’s re-election campaign to understand what’s at stake.


1TERRAPINST(320 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

What's at stake is the hopeful defeat of a President whose administration and policies are significantly ineffective and widely unpopular. Obama is a celebrity with movie star status whose handling by the press and kid gloves have turned a blind eye to his failures and focus on his charm. What is better than it was 4 years ago? How many promises have gone untended? A Western Democrat Socialist whose ideals diminish what made our nation great

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2AtownAugie(848 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Look up the term "self-aggrandizement" in any dictionary and one sees a likeness of the chairman. Himself and himself alone is Betras' focus.

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3Valleyvoter(21 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Maybe the Obama administration has heard of Betras.

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4Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Is the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Transportation really a big deal? DeSouza, you inflate small time interests, and minimize the truly interesting material you might have to work with in your articles. What a sap.

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5Westsider(262 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

What does it really matter? The brainless, brain-dead, welfare-fed voters of the Mahoning Valley will blindly vote for Obama and he knows it. They are not interested in facts or data to the contrary - if there is a "D" that is all that matters.

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61loaf(100 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Suprise! Only 1 pro Obama poster so far. Maybe a miracle has happened and the sheep in the valley are starting to wake up and realize mutton is on the bosses menu. It would be refreshing to see the voters of this area actually look at the facts and vote accordingly. The fact is that our tax dollars are going to enrich other communities. The national Democratic party is so used to the blind support of this area that they have done nothing for us for years. I don't count the auto bailout as a good thing and most folks won't either when GM returns to the well for another drink. If the V&M plant is still viable in 5 years it will be the first thing we got besides some sub poverty rate telemarketer jobs since the Avanti boondoggle orchestrated by Timmy's mentor!

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7paul21045(28 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said that his No.1 priority is the defeat of Pres. Obama, two years ago. . .has there been any bo-partisanship in the Congress since then? It is apparent that the Republicans are content to destroy this country rather than join in resolving problems. . . they vore in "lock-step" with their leadership. And, when was it decided that it takes 60 votes to pass legislation in the Senate. . .what happened to majority rule and democracy?

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8mrblue(1170 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I really believe that Betras is a glory hound. He is for Betras and only Betras. And besides, the Democrats are going to vote like they always do, and most likely, so will the Republicans. Talk about being predictable.

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9Woody(475 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago


And the Democrats aren't voting in lock step with their leadership?

And last I checked, we were in a Republic, not a Democracy.

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