Ryan should keep seat in Washington

Tim Ryan’s vision on initiatives like an energy incubator and the tech belt is impressive. His rising level of seniority on powerful committees gives the area clout that would be hard to replace. And his fight for fair import tariffs have benefited some of the Valley’s largest industrial employers.

Those reasons and others are why we endorse Ryan, the incumbent U.S. representative, to keep his 13th Congressional seat. The Democrat has held a seat in Congress since 2003.

Ryan will face off next month against Republican Christina Hagan, a former Ohio state representative who left office in 2018 to seek, unsuccessfully, the Republican nomination for the 16th Congressional District seat.

Ryan has grown up in the Mahoning Valley and now lives in Howland. He understands first-hand challenges that face our Valley and has ideas and established connections to work to solve them.

Hagan resides in Marlboro Township, outside the sizable five-county 13th District. She points out she “could walk” into the district from her home. Living within the district’s borders is not a requirement for Congress, but it is bothersome to us.

Also on the ballot is candidate Michael Fricke, a Libertarian who resides in Kent. He said he is realistic and doesn’t expect to win.

Hagan spoke intelligently and articulately, expressing strong conservative positions. If elected to Congress, she said her priorities would focus on the economy, creating a bipartisan infrastructure bill and tackle regulatory reform. She says she would work to create manufacturing jobs and establish new labor force training opportunities.

Hagan was critical of Ryan, saying he’s “failed basic representation,” noting he was elected as a pro-life, pro-gun candidate, but has flipped on those positions during his time in office. She is pro-life and pro-gun.

Ryan’s position on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which controls federal government expenditures, and its Defense Subcommittee is both impressive and influential. He said that role has helped him bring back more than $4.6 billion for the district.

Ryan’s vision for innovation consistently has been on the mark. He was instrumental in bringing the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, now called America Makes, to Youngstown. This new-age manufacturing is keeping America — and particularly the Mahoning Valley — ahead of the curve in 3D printing.

Ryan also has been a consistent champion of BRITE Energy Innovators (formerly the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center or TBEIC) in downtown Warren. In past years, we frequently criticized and questioned the slow start of the facility, but now BRITE, an energy incubator located in a beautifully restored vacant department store on Warren’s Courthouse Square, is occupied and involved in important work. BRITE is involved in a research and development collaboration being established locally with industry and educators. That plan is to research and further refine battery cells, particularly for electric vehicles. Of course, electric vehicles and their batteries soon will be built locally.

Indeed, EVs are the future, and Ryan has been in on the ground floor, sharing and pushing his vision. If our region’s transition from the Steel Valley to the Voltage Valley is to be successful, it needs a believer and a knowledgeable driver like Ryan.

To be clear, however, we are disappointed with some of the partisan approaches Ryan has taken in Washington. We disagree with many of Ryan’s ongoing and vocal criticisms of Republican President Donald Trump. We found his exit during Trump’s State of the Union address earlier this year to be disrespectful to the office of president. We also believe that too often, Ryan follows Democratic talking points, and we hope he closely considers desires of his constituents at home, rather than simply following the liberal line in D.C.

Hagan, on the other hand, says she wants to work with President Donald Trump on things like making his tax cuts permanent. Trump supports Hagan’s candidacy.

Some have criticized Ryan as a “career politician.” While we agree no government post was intended to be permanent, we are not blind to the fact that Ryan’s growing seniority and his role on the Defense Subcommittee bring clout to the area that would be difficult to replace — particularly by a freshman representative.

It’s important, therefore, that we maintain that connection. Ryan’s vision, his experience and his rising seniority should play a big role in future success of our area.

We endorse Ryan for re-election to Congress.



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