Government

Kasich to Campaign Monday at Brilex with Tressel, Portman

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Gov. John Kasich will hold a town hall meeting Monday morning at Brilex Industries, 101 Andrews Ave.,  with Youngstown State University  President Jim Tressel scheduled to appear as the event’s “special guest.”

The appearance, announced Wednesday, begins at 10 a.m. with the doors opening at 9:30. Tickets are required and can be acquired by going to this website. This morning the campaign announced that U.S. Sen. Rob Portman will also attend the town hall here.

The campaign stop comes less than 24 hours before polls open in Ohio for the win-or-go-home presidential primary contest that Kasich readily acknowledges. On Sunday, the governor will speak at a rally outside the Spread Eagle Tavern in Hanoverton, which is owned by the chairman of the Columbiana County Republican Party, David Johnson. Tressel is also scheduled to appear at this event as a special guest.

Tressel has not yet publicly endorsed Kasich, the keynote speaker when he was installed as YSU president.

“The fact that the governor is spending the final two days in our area before the primary speaks volumes about how important the Mahoning Valley is to his campaign,” says Mark Munroe, chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Party.

A Fox News poll released Wednesday shows Kasich leading Donald Trump in Ohio by a margin of 34% to 29%. The poll was taken before Trump’s big win Tuesday in Michigan and Kasich’s third-place, which made the governor’s long-shot chance to reach the White House even longer.

“He’s been a long shot from the beginning,” Munroe says. “They said he’d never make that first debate. He did. We started with 17 candidates and now we’re down to four. While his chances are still long, he’s still got a way forward to the White House.”

Brian Benyo, president of Brilex Industries, says he was contacted by Kasich’s campaign and asked if his company would host an appearance at one of its sites.

Benyo hosted an event for Kasich when he ran for governor in 2010, and in 2012 his company’s  plant on Salt Springs Road hosted Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“Having had an opportunity to meet the governor in a small setting, and having had the chance to serve on his executive workforce policy committee, I have a lot of respect and a high opinion of the governor and his ability to serve as president,” Benyo says.

Benyo was named chairman of the Youngstown Academic Distress Commission in December by the state superintendent of public education. Legal challenges have prevented the commission, which will appoint a CEO to operate the Youngstown City Schools, from holding its first meeting.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to reflect this morning’s announcement that U.S. Sen. Rob Portman will attend the town hall meeting Monday at Brilex Industries.

George Nelson contributed reporting to this story.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.