Mahoning Matters reached out to candidates running for local office with a standard list of questions aimed at helping voters make an informed decision in the 2020 election. Each campaign's response will be published in the Mahoning, Trumbull or Columbiana County Voter Guide as it is received and all responses are subject to minimal editing for clarity and/or length. Mahoning Matters does not endorse any candidate.
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Candidate Name: Anthony Traficanti
Office Sought: Mahoning County Commissioner
Candidate's Party Affiliation: Democrat
Candidate's City of Residence: Poland
Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, my entire life, by two of the greatest parents in the world! My Father Salvatore Traficanti immigrated from Marane, Italy to this country as a young man, along with his Mother and Father! Because of hard work and determination, my Father built a very successful Trucking, and real estate business over the years, that I was fortunate to be part off, and continue to oversee to this day! Being the first child in my family to go to college, my mother and father insisted on me getting an education that they never had! After graduating from Poland Seminary High School, I went to Youngstown State University and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Science. Furthermore, I then graduated from Youngstown State and received my Master's Degree in Education! I had the privilege of serving in the United States House of Representatives, under Congressman Jim Traficant , as Chief of Staff, and District Director--overseeing three counties of the 17th District, and working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. I also taught various courses at Youngstown State University, in the Departments of Sociology, and Criminal Justice. Presently, I have served four consecutive terms as Commissioner, and won overwhelmingly each time I ran!
1. What qualities do you possess that qualify you for the job you are seeking?
My record clearly shows that I have the temperament, and skill to serve as Commissioner! Being elected overwhelmingly four consecutive times proves that the voters of this valley support me, and like how I have conducted my office over the years! My pledge has always been from the first day I first ran for this office, that I will always be a Full-time Commissioner! Moreover, owning and operating my family business for over 20 years has provided me with an array of private sector experience that I bring to my position as Commissioner! In addition to my private sector experience, I have 11 years of Federal experience, working in Washington, DC, for the United States House of Representatives! As well as 16 years of experience as your County Commissioner! I have received the endorsement of the majority of local Labor Unions, Youngstown/Warren Black Caucus, and Veterans.
2. If you are elected, is there anything in particular that you hope to accomplish? And briefly, what is it and why is it important?
Continue to work with all departments and County elected officials fiscally, to make sure the County maintains it's current Bond Rating of AA-, and its strong cash reserves. Finish the Campus of Care, to serve those who are most challenged in our community! Finish the 20 million dollar sewer expansion in Springfield Township!
3. What do you feel will be the top issue facing this office over the next term? How would you focus your efforts to tackle it?
The economy for sure! Maintaining fiscal responsibility in the county in light of continued state cuts to our Local Government fund! Making sure all mandated services are fully funded. Not only must we continue to bring new business into the county, we must also continue to keep the businesses we currently have! This will require a regional approach, as well as working with the Port Authority, and the Chamber of commerce for economic development! Continue to lobby state and Federal officials for additional revenue and job-creating opportunities!
4. What are your plans to ensure that all of your constituents would have access to the same resources and opportunities, regardless of race or socioeconomic status? In your view, where does the system fall short?
We were the first County in the State of Ohio, to have OpenCheckBook.com. Mahoning County continues to operate with full transparency, whereby, the public has full access to all public information! Unfortunately, some people are not aware of the resources we have in Mahoning County! We must continue to try and educate the public through various means of social media, and other media outlets! Moreover, Mahoning County Commissioners hold public meetings every week, whereby, the public can have access and address our Board on various issues that they feel are important! We encourage all races, color, and creeds to apply for jobs in Mahoning County! Over the years I have established great relationships with various African American Clergy, and officers of the NAACP, whereby, they have full access to address any concerns or input they may have!
5. What are you doing to disrupt the status quo of politics? If you had the power, what one change would you make right now?
I own my vote! We need to put people over politics! There is no place for ugliness to continue to corrode our Constitutional system of government!
6. Are you satisfied with Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, why? If not, what do you think should be done instead? Can more be done at the local level? The federal level?
I believe Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton did a tremendous job in keeping us up-to-date on COVID 19. Locally, Mahoning County through our EMA and County Board of Health served as both a conduit, and liaison between the state and federal governments with regards to PPE, testing, and continual updates to the Commissioners!
7. The state is expected to make cuts in its upcoming budget in light of the reduction in tax revenue because of the pandemic. How should the state and local government set budget priorities? How deeply should cuts be made? What should your office be doing, or is doing, to prepare?
Our budget priorities have always been adjusted, based on what cuts are coming from Columbus, and based on all economic indicators! Mahoning County maintains strong cash reserves, along with a AA- Bond rating! Moreover, we have created a stabilization reserve, along with reducing our costs through strong budgetary policies and procedures!! We have great flexibility, and a great fiscal outlook, barring any unforeseen disasters!
8. What do you think is the most pressing matter that pertains to the next generation of Ohioans who may be voting for the first time?
Fear of the unknown! What does the future hold for them? What opportunities will be afforded to them in this political turmoil and crisis? Will there be job opportunities for them when they graduate school? Will our young people have to leave the area to look for a good-paying job? This has always been troubling for me!
9. Are you frustrated by the political sniping, exaggeration and even lies between the parties and their supporters that has diminished respect and reasoned compromise? If so, what will you personally do to make the situation better?
I will continue to put the people's needs over that of politics and political bosses! This type of contempt breeds hate, further dividing our country to a point where nothing will be accomplished--cheating all of us out of a successful life, and destroying our country from within! Let's start treating each other with respect, and dignity! For I truly believe we can make the world a better place!
10. Who is your hero, and why?
My father, Salvatore" Sam" Traficanti. Sam was, and always will be my rock, mentor, critic, and best friend! He immigrated to this country as a young boy from Marane, Italy, whereby, he could not even speak the English language! He built a very successful Trucking Company and real estate portfolio! Because of the hard work of my father, I was fortunate to have grown up, and worked in the family business for most of my life! My Dad always preached to me about the importance of getting an education! And, as always, he was right! Thank you Mom and Dad for all you have done for me and our family! I love you so much!