Government

GOP Challenger Criticizes Ryan for Lack of Federal Help

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Chris DePizzo, the Republican nominee for the 13th congressional district seat held by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, said Tuesday that the Mahoning Valley “cannot continue to look to place blame in Washington and Columbus without reflecting on who we send to those capitals to represent us.”

In an open letter to Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown written in response to the mayor’s letter last week to President Donald Trump, DePizzo cited several declining economic indicators since Ryan was elected to Congress in 2002, including a 42% loss in Valley manufacturing jobs, downsizing at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station and a lack of success in securing federal infrastructure dollars for projects in Youngstown, notably the Smart2 project.

In particular, the letter points to job losses at the General Motors Lordstown complex, which in 2002 employed more than 7,000 workers and now is at about 1,500, as demand has fallen for the Chevrolet Cruze produced at the plant. DePizzo pointed to Ryan voting in 2008 in support of the government bailout of GM without any requirement that it manufacture cars in America and standing by as Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama let the North American Free Trade Agreement “destroy” American auto manufacturing.

In addition, he accused Ryan of co-sponsoring a bill in Congress to “effectively ban fracking” and standing silent earlier this year when Youngstown voters considered an amendment to the city charter that would inhibit oil and gas related activity in the city.

“Having seen the Mahoning Valley struggle under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, it seems the problem is not with who inhabits the White House but instead rests with who represents our hometown in Congress,” DePizzo said in the letter.

Ryan’s office declined to comment on DePizzo’s letter. The congressman has been a longtime critic of NAFTA and criticized GM CEO Mary Barra for announcing GM would build the Chevy Blazer in Mexico the same day layoffs took effect at the Lordstown Complex.

The legislation Ryan co-sponsored earlier this year, the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, called for greater disclosure requirements for the chemicals used in fracking, a method of extracting oil and natural gas, and repealing an exemption to the Safe Water Drinking Act for the oil and gas industry.

Early in his congressional career, Ryan also spearheaded efforts to preserve YARS as part of the Save Our Airbase Reservists campaign and has pushed for greater investment at the air base.

Pictured: Chris DePizzo is the Republican challenger for the 13th congressional district. 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.