BCA event encourages public knowledge of candidates’ platforms

By Jessica Hardin



The specter of corruption hung heavy over candidates at the annual Candidates and Issues event hosted by Boardman Civic Association on Monday night.

The crowd heard from candidates for Mahoning County commissioner, county court judge, 7th District Court of Appeals, Ohio state senate 33rd District, Ohio House 59th District and Ohio 13th Congressional District.

Candidates positioned themselves in opposition to the news of recent indictments of former Youngstown mayor Charles Sammarone and former city finance director David Bozanich.

“I’m running because I’m tired of the indictments. I’m running because I am from an honest and hard-working family,” said Molly Johnson, one of the six candidates for county court judge.

Kathleen Bartlett, a candidate for judge in the Youngstown-based 7th District Court of Appeals, urged the crowd to vote for judges “that have a strong moral compass.” She continued: “We have to say that enough is enough.”

Most candidates also discussed the importance of creating policy to combat the opioid epidemic.

For Rick Barron and Eric Ungaro, candidates for county commissioner and state representative, respectively, the issue is personal. During their speeches, both discussed family members’ struggles with addiction.

The BCA event at Boardman Park’s Lariccia Family Community Center also highlighted a 2.4-mill levy renewal sought by Boardman schools; a 0.3-mill levy renewal and a 0.3-mill increase for Boardman Park; a 0.85-mill levy renewal and 0.5-mill increase for Mahoning County Board of Mental Health and Recovery; and a 1.85-mill levy sought by Mahoning County Children’s Services.

Also on the ballot Nov. 6 is Ohio Issue 1, a constitutional amendment that aims to reduce the number of people in state prisons by making possession and use of drugs a misdemeanor.

Judge Jack Durkin opposes the measure. “If State Issue 1 passes, say goodbye to drug courts. They significantly reduce drug abuse and crime and do so at far less expense than any other justice strategy.”

While most speeches remained civil, dialogue became heated during the speeches given by candidates for state representative.

“I didn’t bow down and kiss the ring of corrupt, corrupt union bosses and ask permission to run for this office. I was not born into a family of the same old, worn out, recycled political names,” said Don Manning.

His opponent, Eric Ungaro, responded during his speech: “I wasn’t chosen to be here. ... We worked hard and we sent our message.”