GOP gets a rare win in the Valley

It’s not every day that Republicans in Trumbull County get a win, but that’s what happened last week at the Trumbull County Board of Elections.

Democrat board members Mark Alberini, chairman, and Ralph Infante, were over a barrel on a proposal regarding precinct reduction and needed Republican board members Kathi Creed and Ron Knight to negotiate or Democrats in all likelihood were looking at having a plan in place that they didn’t not like at all.

The reason why their backs were against the wall is because the person who would determine whether more than one-quarter of the county’s voting precincts would be eliminated for reasons of cost savings and improved elections was Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican.

Knight said after the meeting where the sides compromised on a plan that having Husted make the decision was a gamble, which is why he and Creed agreed to a plan that puts into place criteria to pare down the precincts; maybe not to the 152 Knight first proposed, but by what could be a very real number.

Not one Republican in either Trumbull or Mahoning counties filed Wednesday to run for a municipal seat in the May 7 primary election.

Even two Green Party candidates filed in Mahoning County.

Susie Beiersdorfer, a leader of the group opposed to hydraulic fracturing, the process of extracting natural gas and oil from beneath the ground, and Terrance P. Esarco, another member of Frack Free Ohio, have filed petitions to run for council president in Youngstown.

The president’s race is one of only two open races in Youngstown; the other is for mayor, which is limiting to the GOP in Mahoning County, says its party chairman Mark Munroe.

Munroe said one person was interested in filing for a municipal race in Youngstown, but decided against it due to personal reasons.

The other reason why, and it’s true in Trumbull County, too, is because of demographics: Republicans are at a severe disadvantage to Democrats.

In Mahoning County, there are 43,483 registered Democrats and 17,459 Republicans. In Trumbull, it’s 47,739 for Democrats and 17,665 for the GOP.

Munroe said the party is actively recruiting candidates for Youngstown City Council races in two years.

”We do look forward to competition in Youngstown with Republican candidates, but it’s a challenge considering the numbers and demographics,” Munroe said.

Creed, chairwoman of the Trumbull County Republican Party, said it’s an ”uphill battle” for Republicans.

”The opportunity is there if somebody would like to run, we would support them in every way we could,” Creed said.

Gary Engstrom, who lost his job as director of Trumbull County’s Office of Elderly Affairs on Dec. 31 because of changes to public transportation in the county, has been hired by county Recorder Diana Marchese.

Engstrom started Jan. 14 as a deputy recorder. He’s earning about $2,600 less a year than the roughly $34,600 he made as department head.

Actually, Engstrom’s job, along with the jobs of all transportation employees in elderly affairs, were eliminated because some transportation services were shifted to the county transit board.

Of the 17 other workers whose positions were eliminated, six – four drivers and two clerical/dispatch workers – took jobs with Community Bus Services, the company that operates the Niles-Trumbull Transit System, which assumed the rides Engstrom’s office was providing in the transition.