Ryan up for the challenge of leadership

Congressional Democrats have their work cut out for them, and electing local U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, to a leadership position may be a good step for the party and for the Mahoning Valley.

Ryan last week officially announced his decision to challenge longtime Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi for minority leadership.

In making his case, Ryan argues that, come January, the House will be at its smallest Congressional minority since 1929. Democrats have lost more than 60 House seats under Pelosi’s leadership since 2010. Ryan wants to see the Democrats take back 30 to 40 heavily red congressional districts. He has a lot of work ahead of him.

“The consensus is clear,” he said in declaring his bid for the leadership post. “What we are doing right now is not working.”

Here’s what he thinks the Democratic party, left reeling after the Nov. 8 election, needs on a national level: Technologically, he thinks the party needs an upgrade. And he thinks the party needs to speak to the working class people as one segment.

Whatever happens, we like his energy, enthusiasm and leadership qualities. He has represented the 13th Congressional District well, and moving on to a more national stage would further emphasize our area. Certainly, if he gets the job, Mahoning Valley interests will become national interests.

And at the end of the day, strong leadership in the Democratic party would be good for all of America. A strong two-party system is key to challenging one another and generating the best ideas for progress, provided there is good communication, debate and logical compromise.

Strong party leadership originating from Trumbull County, Ohio, — even if it’s in the minority party — would bode well for the 13th District.

However, we must point out that we prefer this Trumbull County native describe his hometown as Howland or Niles or even Warren, rather than Youngstown, a neighbor to the south where he has never resided while holding elected office. Ryan’s explanation is that Youngstown is more recognizable on the national stage. Perhaps — but mentioning Warren would help grow the national recognition of this Trumbull County city as well.

Ryan, 43, acknowledges that his decision to challenge Pelosi is a lot like “a battle within the family,” but something he thinks needs to be done.

Let’s hope the results don’t leave internal family grudges.

And if he fails in his attempt, Ryan has again helped direct the national spotlight on the Youngstown-Warren area.

Certainly this Trumbull County native knows the odds and believes he is up for the challenge. We believe he is too.