Between the two of them, congressmen Tim Ryan and Bill Johnson have 24 years in the House of Representatives. Ryan of Howland. D-13th, and Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, also serve on very important committees.
And, despite their political differences – Johnson is an unapologetic supporter of President Donald Trump and Ryan is an occasional critic – they have forged a relationship on Capitol Hill that is paying huge dividends for the Mahoning Valley.
To be sure, each representative has a legislative agenda designed to meet the needs and demands of his district. But they also have common goals that can only be achieved by federal lawmakers who have perfected the art of political compromise.
There are certain truisms that have long applied to Congress: seniority matters; and, lawmakers who recognize the necessity of give-and-take ultimately succeed.
It is no accident, therefore, that Ryan, who is seeking a ninth two-year term in the Nov. 6 general election, and Johnson, going for a fifth term, have largely breezed through past contests.
Two years ago, Johnson received 70 percent of the vote against a Democratic challenger, while Ryan got 67 percent against two opponents, a Republican and an independent.
This year, Johnson is facing Democrat Shawna Roberts of Belmont, while Ryan has to contend with Republican Chris DePizzo, a native of the Valley who now lives in Cuyahoga Falls.
Because incumbency tips the scales in an election, Roberts and DePizzo face an uphill battle in their quests to unseat the two well-known congressmen.
While we commend the challengers for their determination to give voters a choice in this election, the Mahoning Valley can ill afford to be represented by freshmen lawmakers.
There’s a reason the headline for this editorial focuses on the area needing Ryan and Johnson in Congress “more than ever.”
First and foremost, the uncertain future of the General Motors car-assembly plant in Lordstown requires a concerted effort by elected officials, labor unions and business and community leaders to prevent a permanent shutdown.
The 52-year-old plant, which has produced some of GM’s best-selling vehicles, is down to one shift because the once ever-popular Chevrolet Cruze is no longer in demand.
Ryan and Johnson, along with Ohio’s two senators, Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman, are pressing GM’s decision-makers in Detroit to assign a new product to the Lordstown complex.
We have urged Republican President Trump, who enjoys strong support in this predominantly Democratic region, to intercede on the Valley’s behalf with GM CEO Mary Barra.
Sens. Brown and Portman and Reps. Ryan and Johson have also joined forces in securing millions of dollars for the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, home to the 910th Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve.
With 1,800 full- and part-time workers at the vast base in Vienna Township, the economic impact of the installation can be measured in the millions of dollars.
With their seniority and committee assignments, Ryan and Johnson are well-positioned to keep funneling federal dollars to the air base.
The Democratic incumbent serves on the powerful Appropriations Committee, while the Republican incumbent is a member of the Budget Committee.
There’s also the need for a full-court press in Washington to bring the $1 billion-plus East Coast Missile Defense System to Camp Ravenna, formerly the Ravennna Arsenal. Other states are vying for the federal project, which is why an all-out effort by the public and private sectors is demanded.
We believe Ryan and Johnson have shown the commitment, dedication and foresight to ensure that Washington does not ignore their districts.
In the 13th, America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is a shining example of Congressman Ryan’s vision and leadership in transforming the region’s economy.
Likewise, in the 6th, Johnson has been a trailblazer in the liquid natural gas initiative that will allow this country to compete in the huge global market.
The Vindicator strongly endorses Ryan and Johnson for new terms in office.
Editor’s Note: Details of the candidates’ positions on a range of issues can be found in Vindicator news stories, videos of Editorial Board interviews posted on vindy.com and by accessing the candidate survey forms on the website.