COLUMBUS — Canfield attorney Alessandro "Al" Cutrona was sworn in Thursday on the Ohio House floor to the 59th district seat formerly held by the late state Rep. Don Manning.
Cutrona, who currently works as chief operating officer and in-house counsel of Northeast Ohio Infectious Disease Associates in Youngstown and was a friend of Manning's, was chosen from a field of 15 candidates by a selection committee assembled by Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder of Glenford, R-72nd.
Manning, 52, of New Middletown, died unexpectedly March 20. He was elected in November 2018 to the 59th district, which includes Boardman, Canfield and Poland.
"The Mahoning Valley suffered a devastating blow with the loss of Don Manning," Cutrona said in a Thursday release from Householder's office. "I hope that I am viewed not as a replacement for Don, but rather a person that continues his achievements and carries on his legacy. I will swiftly get to work in order for the questions, ideas and concerns of residents across the area to have a voice in Columbus.”
State Rep. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati, R-30th, who introduced the measure to appoint Cutrona, said Cutrona is the first Hispanic member of the Republican caucus in "a long time." He said Cutrona is a lifelong Canfield resident — where he's "actively involved in the community" — as well as a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.
Cutrona is currently the chief operating officer at the Northeastern Ohio Infectious Disease Association. He is also an attorney at the firm Amourgis & Associates in Independence, specializing in bankruptcy law.
He graduated from Canfield High school in 2008, from Youngstown State University in 2012 and earned his law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 2012.
According to Cutrona's application for the position, he intends to run for the seat in the November general election and vowed to immediately put up $50,000 for his campaign if selected by the appointment committee.
In his application, he also vowed to "continue on as a loyal Republican team player and carry on the work that Don Manning had started" and focus on business growth and development and health care infrastructure and to "protect conservative views."
Mahoning County voting records show Cutrona has not voted with either a Republican or Democratic ballot until the April primary, in which he voted Republican.
Cutrona did not return a call from Mahoning Matters on Thursday.
In November, Cutrona is set to face Democratic challenger Chris Stanley, a Youngstown City Schools teacher, children's book author and vice president of operations for the Whistle and Keg tasting room, whom the Ohio Democratic Party said is prepared to run an "all-out" campaign.
"Republicans in Columbus have turned their back on us," Stanley said in a Thursday afternoon release. "Republicans sat idle as General Motors shut down the Lordstown plant, and they have ignored us as our area struggles to deal with the loss of lives and jobs from the coronavirus.
"I'm excited about our future in the Mahoning Valley, and I will work to improve public education, attract new businesses and good-paying jobs, and stand up and protect the frontline heroes who have literally put their lives on the line for us during the COVID-19 outbreak."