Clinton Stops at O’Donold’s During Youngstown Visit

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Hillary Clinton was looking for the luck of the Irish heading into Tuesday’s primary election.

Clinton, who spoke earlier at M7 Technologies, made a brief stop at O’Donold’s Irish Pub & Grill downtown. The Democratic presidential candidate drank a Guinness, shook hands, posted for pictures and chatted briefly with patrons during the stop, which lasted a little over 10 minutes.

It was “the best Guinness … a Youngstown Guinness,” Clinton told the crowd.

“We’re going to work hard. We’re going to work really, really hard” ahead of the primary, she said.

Cheers greeted Clinton as she entered the downtown bar, introduced as “the next president of the United States” by David Betras, chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party. When Betras introduced U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, as “the best congressman” in the country, one of the patrons shouted, “Vice president sounds good to me!”

At the bar, Clinton, Ryan and Ryan’s wife, Andrea, visited with the bar’s owner, Christian Rinehart, and his newborn baby.

“It was amazing, really cool. I’m a nonpolitical person but that was one of the neatest experiences I’ve ever had,” Rinehart said. It was “cool to serve a Guinness to a presidential candidate,” he added.

“We wanted to make sure that she got to see all of Youngstown, Ryan said, “and we figured this is the future of Youngstown – downtown businesses, the [Youngstown Business] incubator], America Makes, the university,” Ryan said.

Rinehart said Ryan, who he had attended high school with, contacted him Saturday morning about stopping in for “a little bit of Irish fun” that night.

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“Too often candidates come around here and we would take them to a shuttered steel mill and we’d take them to places that were depressing,” Ryan said. “We’ve got a long way to go but we want her to know that the policies she’s talking about are already working here and what she would be able to do for us would be significant.”

According to Ryan, Clinton is “very familiar” with Youngstown’s America Makes, which was the pilot for the series of manufacturing hubs President Obama launched. Clinton supports the manufacturing hubs, which focus on emerging technologies.

America Makes, which was launched in 2012, focuses on additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing.

Clinton “understands how federal investment catalyzes private investment and the kind of relationships you have at the universities,” Ryan said.

Rinehart said he and Clinton discussed the rebirth of Youngstown, the advancement of YBI and YSU and “how we’re building an environment where more people want to live and stay, and stop the brain drain out of the area.”

He acknowledged that staging such an event slows service at an establishment like his, “but wow, what a cool thing for the Valley. I would gladly host any presidential candidate anytime.”

Bar patrons, several of whom also had attended Clinton’s speech, said they enjoyed getting to spend time with her at the informal setting.

“We exchanged a few words,” said Kristen Rock of Liberty Township, who is running for the Democratic nomination to represent the 32nd District in the Ohio Senate. “Obviously Ohio is a really important state for her and Youngstown is the hotbed of the Democratic Party, so I’m glad she came.”

Kristen Olmi of Youngstown said she enjoyed sharing a beer with Clinton. “I think it shows her ability to relate to voters and her commitment to the Mahoning Valley,” she said.

Olmi praised her speech at M7 earlier. “She highlighted her commitment to growing our manufacturing base and strengthening the technology success we’ve had with the YBI and addictive manufacture while also demonstrating her understanding of education and job training,” she said.

“She made some really good points. I was really excited to hear her talk about manufacturing, in particular additive manufacturing,” said Cris Young, executive vice president of Hudson Fasteners, a YBI tenant.

“I heard mentioned the great job that downtown Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley is doing to promote economic growth, workforce education and small business in general. It was very positive I think for our area in general and as well as the country.”

Pictured at top: U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and his wife, Andrea, at O’Donold’s pub downtown.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.