Former Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams visits UAW hall to stump for Clinton at

Former Youngstown mayor Jay Williams speaks during a news conference at UAW Local 1112 hall. Williams, who is Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, returned to the Valley to campaign for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Former Youngstown mayor Jay Williams speaks during a news conference at UAW Local 1112 hall. Williams, who is Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, returned to the Valley to campaign for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

NORTH JACKSON — With the presidential race in battleground Ohio tightening, the Democrats on Thursday brought an old friend — former car czar and Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams — to explain the importance of  the 2009 federal auto bailout to the Mahoning Valley economy.

Williams, now the assistant secretary of commerce for economic development in the President Barack Obama administration, met with United Auto Workers leaders and the media in an impromptu campaign stop at the UAW Local 1112 hall. He was campaigning for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The former mayor struck at Republican Donald Trump for opposing the bailout, which saved the national auto industry and more importantly, saved the Lordstown General Motors complex.

“Riding out here, I saw a lot of Trump / Pence signs, and I have to wonder whether those individuals realize how important manufacturing is to the economic health of this Valley,” Williams said.

Because of the bailout, Williams said working people have the ability to pay their mortgages, take vacations, send their children to college and save for a rainy day.

“Without these kind of jobs, these tasks become more difficult,” he said.

Williams said he feels proud when traveling and he sees a Chevy Cruze pull up to a hotel, knowing where it comes from.

Local 1714 President Rob Morales said he hopes Ohio workers remember who supported the auto worker during the tough times prior to the bailout.

“Hillary Clinton has fought for us,” Morales said, “and we will support those who support us.”

Glenn Johnson, president of UAW Local 1112, said Clinton’s plan to give companies a tax credit for profit-sharing is patterned after the relationship between General Motors and the Lordstown unions.

“What is good for the company is good for our workers,” Johnson said, adding that GM this week announced it is on pace for record-shattering earnings.

Andy Bokras of Mineral Ridge, a Local 1714 member, said Trump and his running mate Mike Pence turned their backs on the auto worker back at a time “I almost lost everything I had.”

Johnson said it is hard to believe that Pence, who just last week said he is still opposed to the bailout,  is governor of a state (Indiana) that has so many ties to manufacturing.

Karen Eusanio of Hubbard,  a Local 1112 member, said 80 of 88 Ohio counties are linked to the auto industry.

“We understand who really cares for us and those who are just being nice just to get our vote,” Eusanio said.

According to realclearpolitics.com, a Remington Research poll of Ohio voters published Tuesday showed Trump leading by four percentage points. A Suffolk poll of Ohio voters last week had the race even.

Neither Mahoning County Republican chairman Mark Munroe nor his colleague in Trumbull County, Randy Law, returned calls Thursday for comment on Trump’s opposition to the auto bailout.

gvogrin@tribtoday.com

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