Rep. Tim Ryan won reelection in Ohio’s 13th district congressional last Tuesday. Ryan defeated Republican challenger Christina Hagan, a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives.
Ohio’s 13th district includes parts of Portage, Summit, Stark, Trumbull, and Mahoning counties, covering cities like Youngstown, Kent, and Streetsboro.
Despite winning a 10th term, Ryan remains a controversial figure for the people of his own district, some of them at Kent State University.
Brandon Allen, a member of the Kent State Young Americans for Liberty on campus, feels Ryan has failed to serve his constituents across four terms representing the 13th district.
“He spends most of his time in Washington, D.C. and not with the people of his district,” he said.
Allen, who grew up in the town of Warren, Ohio, also believes Ryan has a tendency to take credit for actions he wasn’t directly involved in, such as the Robins Theater reopening for business in his hometown.
“He claimed he helped bring back Robins Theatre in Warren, and Robins came out and said Tim Ryan did nothing to bring them back,” Allen said.
Mark Marvin, owner of Robins Theatre, did indeed post a message on their marquee in October, which read: “Tim Ryan had nothing to do with the restoration of The Robins Theatre.”
The congressman released a statement in response on Oct. 16, in which he affirmed he was “proud to have brought back millions of dollars for the City of Warren.”
Allen continued to criticize Ryan’s policies, among them being a strong supporter for military presence in the Middle East and higher corporate tax rates.
“He likes to point fingers when anything goes wrong,” Allen said. “Like when GM left, he blamed Trump even though it had nothing to do with Trump. Trump at least cut their taxes to incentivize them to stay.”
Tyler Gardner, president of the Kent State College Democrats on campus, defended Ryan’s role in Ohio’s industry problems.
“Lordstown went under because of long standing auto industry problems,” Gardner said. “It being cheaper to produce in other countries, it’s not really an issue a single member of Congress has control over.”
The College Democrats held a phone bank with Ryan two weeks before Election Day, urging constituents to cast their ballot for Ryan. Participants convinced voters of Ryan’s track record of helping middle class families and fighting for healthcare benefits.
“He’s been a leader in the House in trying to get more COVID benefits to people while they’re struggling,” Gardner said. “Especially now when people are hurting and kind of feeling the burden of the medical system.”
Ryan co-sponsored a bill with Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat representing California’s 17th congressional district, titled Emergency Money for the People Act. The legislation, introduced in April, would provide monthly payments of $2,000 to citizens throughout the pandemic.
The relief bill is currently stalled in the House Committee on Ways and Means. Nick de Windt, also a member of the Kent State Young Americans for Liberty, maintains that Ryan’s bill, if passed, would do more harm than good.
“This bill, and all other stimulus bills, are equivalent to the federal government breaking our legs and then offering us a wheelchair as charity,” de Windt said. “From where does Tim Ryan expect to secure the capital necessary to justify this spending bill?”
Ryan’s supporters, however, still believe the congressman understands the needs of his constituents, including the Kent State student population.
“He knows the district, he’s been in the area for awhile,” Gardner said. “He gets the concerns of people in Youngstown and in Kent.”
Mason Lawlor covers the City of Kent. Contact him at email@example.com.
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