U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan's influence in Washington remains a constant benefit for Mahoning Valley residents who should re-elect the Niles Democrat in the 13th Congressional District.
Political newcomer Marisha G. Agana, a Trumbull County physician, is Ryan's Republican challenger.
According to economic reports, the Mahoning Valley is recovering from The Great Recession of 2009 as fast or faster than any other part of the nation. One reason is the foundation Ryan helped to build prior to the recession and the work he has performed since.
The biggest development that Ryan influenced during his current term is the $70 million National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute that should have a long-lasting, riveting impact on the Warren-Youngstown area's economy. The Valley is now home to the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The ''additive'' manufacturing process is expected to be 10 times less expensive than conventional materials manufacturing methods. This would help domestic companies be more competitive through cost control while advancing weapons manufacturing considered valuable for the Department of Defense.
One reason for the Valley's success, including its selection for the manufacturing institute, is because Ryan previously championed the Tech Belt Initiative that identifies the Cleveland-Pittsburgh region as a technology corridor. This is the basis for Youngstown State University growing as a research institution, the Youngstown Business Incubator's astounding success and the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center's potential. TBEIC is the proposed business incubator for downtown Warren.
With another term, the community can count on Ryan's continued attack on unfair Chinese trade policies that hurt local companies and his ongoing effort to encourage oil and natural gas development in the Utica Shale. The community can also count on Ryan fostering potential growth at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station and the Camp Ravenna joint military training center.
Agana is absolutely correct that Ryan is clearly on the wrong side of the Affordable Care Act, called Obamacare, and that the act should be repealed. Ryan is on the wrong side of many national issues, such as playing favorites with labor organizations and supporting an auto bailout that robbed Delphi salaried retirees of their promised pensions. His attempts to correct the unfair treatment of Delphi salaried retirees fall far short of adequacy.
When it comes to supporting President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid on spending and tax issues, Ryan seems unwilling to reflect the values of his constituents.
But Ryan's overall value to his district, especially Trumbull and Mahoning counties, is immense. That value should rise as he continues to gain seniority in the House and moves back onto the most influential committees. Future chairmanships and the potential to one day become speaker make Ryan's re-election a no-brainer for local voters.
In the next term Trumbull voters should expect the congressman to deliver more for them, especially in downtown Warren. Youngstown and Kent, which received a $20 million transportation grant that spurred hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment, have benefited better during Ryan's federal career.
Youngstown and Kent deserved the fruits of Ryan's labor for providing a politically cooperative environment and strong public-private partnerships. We call on Ryan to be more aggressive in overcoming the obstacles faced in his home county. Specifically, voters should expect:
A re-evaluation of TBEIC, which has been propped up with state and federal money and perhaps should be turned into a Youngstown Business Incubator north campus.
A redirection of Eastern Gateway Community College to concentrate its growth on its downtown Warren location.
Facilitation of public and private investors to develop downtown Warren into a business, educational, residential and entertainment center with safe links to some of its surrounding neighborhoods.
Though Ryan's contributions to the region are already considerable, it's exciting to know he has even greater potential.