Williams considers gubernatorial bid

Former Youngstown mayor could come back to Valley after Washington job

NORTH JACKSON — Jay Williams says there may be a gubernatorial bid in his future.

The former mayor of Youngstown was in the area Thursday campaigning for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“It is always good to be back in the Mahoning Valley,” Williams said. “I always consider it my home.”

In fact, Williams said he probably will be moving back here after his job in the President Obama administration is completed in January. Obama first appointed Williams to be auto czar in 2011 and Williams later became assistant secretary of Commerce for Economic Devlopment.

Williams said he could be looking for an economic development job in the Mahoning Valley, but is also considering his options for a possible run in the 2018 Democratic primary for governor. Other names mentioned to be considering a run include U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, and Republican state officeholders Attorney General Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Treasurer Josh Mandel.

“Of course, if Tim would run, I would support him,” Williams said. “Any decision would came after lots of prayer and consultation with my chief adviser, my wife.”

Mahoning County Democrat Party chairman Dave Betras said Williams’ name has been mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate.

“Jay is a rock star, and I am sure he would make a great governor just as he did a great job as car czar and in his current economic development role,” Betras said.

Williams and his family  have been living in the Washington, D.C., area. With no previous political experience and running as an independent, Williams shocked local political experts in 2005 when he defeated Democrat Bob Hagan and five others to become Youngstown’s first African-American mayor.