Government

Brown Defends Ryan in Response to DePizzo Letter

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mayor Jamael Tito Brown fired back at Republican congressional candidate Chris DePizzo over the weekend over his response to the mayor’s Aug. 30 letter to President Donald Trump.

In his letter to DePizzo, dated Sept. 8, Brown also defended incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan’s effort to promote economic growth locally, and warned little would be accomplished by DePizzo inserting himself in the mayor’s “serious attempt” to encourage Trump to do what he promised.  

“Please do not try to interject me in your efforts to unseat Congressman Ryan,” Brown urged. Though he said he would work with DePizzo in the “unlikely event” that he succeeds in beating Ryan, he “fully” supports Ryan’s re-election, he said.

In his Aug. 30 letter to the White House, Brown referenced Trump’s promises made at a July 25, 2017, rally at the Covelli Centre to keep his word and said local leaders were willing to work with him to improve “the overall quality of life in the Mahoning Valley.”

DePizzo, an attorney and Youngstown native who moved back to northeastern Ohio last year and subsequently chose to run for Congress, responded with a Sept. 4 letter to Brown charging that his letter should have been addressed to Ryan, D-13 Ohio.

Having witnessed the Mahoning Valley’s struggles under President George W. Bush and his successor, President Barack Obama, he charged the problem isn’t with “who inhabits the White House but instead rests with who represents our hometown in Congress.” He cited community job loss during Ryan’s time in Congress, downsizing at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ryan’s supposed opposition to fracking and failure to secure funds form the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery or Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grant programs.

Brown shot back over the weekend. He called his letter offering his assistance to Trump to help fulfill his campaign promises “entirely appropriate” and said DePizzo’s “attempt to invigorate” his campaign to promote his “misguided views” of Ryan don’t sit well with him. 

Brown also said Ryan’s efforts during his 18 years of public service – including his time in the Ohio Senate before being elected to Congress in 2002 – have been “instrumental” in improving the city’s economy.  

In particular, Brown cited Ryan’s efforts on behalf of the Youngstown Business Incubator, which contributed to it being named the top university-affiliated incubator in the world; his work on behalf of the saving the General Motors Lordstown plant; his opposition to “every bad trade deal Congress has considered”; his role in helping to establish America Makes, the national additive manufacturing hub; and his “steadfast” support oil and gas exploration in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays.

The mayor also pointed to Ryan’s role in securing $20 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to support infrastructure improvements that led to Vallourec choosing Youngstown as the site for a $1.2 billion pipe mill, his successful efforts to secure funds for YARS and his work shortly after taking office to keep the Vienna Township air station operating. 

 “Congressman Ryan has a long record of success in bringing hundreds of millions of dollars of federal dollars to our area and his important role appears to be on the very of greater significance for our Valley after the November elections,” Brown said in the letter. Several polls favor Democrats retaking the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The letter I wrote to President Trump was a sincere effort to bring the president’s attention to our economic plight. I cannot encourage you to use it to bolster your campaign,” he said.     

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.