As possibly the only county in America with two Congressional representatives on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, one might assume Trumbull will soon be gilding its streets.
U.S. Reps. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Niles, and David P. Joyce, R-Russell, this month have been named to the influential spending committee. Ryan's 13th District covers the bottom three tiers of Trumbull County and parts of Mahoning, Portage and Summit counties. Joyce's 14th District covers six northeast Ohio counties, including the top two tiers of Trumbull.
In 2013, the committee will have jurisdiction over about $1.04 trillion. Ryan was also named to the Steering and Policy Committee, a leadership position in the Democrat caucus that makes committee assignments.
Jennifer Hing, Appropriations Committee communications director, said she believes Trumbull is the only county in the U.S. with two representatives on the committee. Except for last decade when Ryan and Joyce's predecessor, Steve LaTourette, served together, she said such a situation probably hasn't happened since the 1980s.
From 2006 to 2011, when Ryan previously served on Appropriations, he brought back to Trumbull County $1 million for a National Packard Museum expansion, $1.5 million for Packard Music Hall upgrades, $2 million for Camp Ravenna and $2 million for the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center in downtown Warren.
At the very least everybody in Trumbull County should expect Ryan and Joyce to work together on projects that enable Trumbull to capitalize on the anticipated oil and natural gas boom. We should also expect a tag-team effort to benefit the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Kent State University at Trumbull, Eastern Gateway Community College, Camp Ravenna and downtown Warren.
One possibility is a convergence of ideas that Ryan has bandied about. Use the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center's cooperative agreement with KSU at Trumbull to harness the technology for a pilot program converting military vehicles at the air station and Camp Ravenna to natural gas.
Local leaders must avoid making the same mistake with Joyce that they did with LaTourette, who often complained that Trumbull's officeholders rarely accepted his help. When they did, he usually delivered, such as the federal assistance he helped secure for the million-dollar-plus Kinsman sewer project approved this year.
And Ryan must avoid getting too caught up in all the talk about him running for governor. He would have to relinquish his Congressional seat that he should be able to hold onto for life , survive a challenging primary and then unseat Gov. John Kasich, whose approval ratings continue to climb.
Ryan best serves the Mahoning Valley right where he's at.
Gelding the streets may be an exaggeration, but the potential is enormous for Ryan and Joyce.