The Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber has lost another member due to its president's public support of John Kasich, Republican candidate for Ohio governor.
Bruce Zoldan, president and CEO of one of the nation's largest distributors of fireworks, the B.J. Alan Co., withdrew his company's membership from the chamber of commerce, saying its president Thomas Humphries' support of Kasich has undermined the chamber's effectiveness and jeopardized its political standing.
''While we all have personal political ideas, leanings and loyalties; if one represents and is so closely identified with a community based organization like the chamber as the President/CEO is, one's public political activities must be calculated to serve the best interest of the organization and the community,'' Zoldan wrote in a letter to the chamber.
No chamber spokesperson could be reached Monday for comment.
Last week, Dave Betras, chair of the Mahoning County Democratic Party withdrew his law firm as a member of the chamber in response to Humphries co-hosting a fundraising event in Warren on Monday.
Kasich was in Mahoning County Monday for a campaign rally at the GOP headquarters in Boardman followed by the evening fundraiser.
Zoldan wrote that Humphries' public support of Kasich ''was not well thought out, was clearly not calculated to promote the best interests of the chamber and the community, and it clearly did not represent the interests of all chamber members.''
Zoldan has hosted multiple fundraisers for political heavyweights at his Canfield home, including former President Bill Clinton stumping for his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton in her failed 2008 primary election presidential bid, and just last week, Vice President Joe Biden, who was campaigning for the re-election of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who also attended the event.
Zoldan wrote that Kasich also has been a guest and that he planned to attend the fundraiser in Warren. Removal of his company is not a political statement, Zoldan wrote.
''This is not about a particular political race, but rather is about the deleterious effect on the chamber that public partisan political activity by its president / CEO can have,'' Zoldan wrote.
Zoldan suggested the chamber develop guidance for similar situations in the future or the chamber head ''should simply stay out of partisan politics.''