Mahoning Democratic Leaders Elected by Precinct Committee Person - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Mahoning Democratic Leaders Elected by Precinct Committee Persons

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In the Democratic Party, Socrates Kolitsos, and Rick Berger were vying to take over leadership of the Mahoning Party Chair from David Betras. They said there was a need for principles to be put above personality, and a need to stop the Executive Committee from being able to appoint an unlimited number of people who are not committeemen. It dilutes the power of the precinct committeemen on voting for candidates to endorse, and in voting on the democrat members on the Board of Elections. Socrates Kolitsos said, "It creates an unfair advantage for hand picked candidates appointed by the Chairman. We must return the power back to you, the precinct committeemen. I will return integrity back to the people. My campaign is about issues and only the committee persons should be voting on endorsements."
 
Rick Berger, a former combat Marine also challenged Chairman David Betras leadership. He told about his service, and qualifications since he was a squad leader responsible for ten Marines and their safety 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Berger said, "why do we have a rat hole for headquarters, when we raise so much money. What is the deal. It is very embarasing."
 
David Betras said, "Today's election is about the future of the party and who has the best skills to lead us ahead. Yes, I've demonstrated at times my passion can be problematic. I have had to apologize, but everyone has accepted my apology. My missteps were fueled by my passion for the party and our candidates, my principles, our beliefs, and those the party fights for, and represents. I have built the party infrastructure that produces radio, and TV spots that help our candidates win."

After the count was tallied Betras won with 134 votes to Kolitsos 54 votes, and three for Berger. Betras will remain Chairman of the Mahoning Democratic Party for the next four years. He thanked the party and put on a T-Shirt that said, "Friends don't let friends vote Republican," and took over as chair the meeting.

In the race for Executive Vice Chair Ron Massullo beat out Ken Carano 102 to 34 in a third vote for the position. Massullo said, " I would like to see a more grassroots effort, and more district meetings. From the age of 15 I wanted to be in a leadership position. I made over 300 phone calls and called many people twice. Ken and I had worked hand in hand when we served in the state, I think people were ready for a fresh face."

In his bid for that position David Engler called on anyone who has an affiliation with former Judge Mark Belinky or Oakhill to withdraw their candidacy. Engler said, "Ask your neighbor do you want to be represented by the Betras Democrat. The party needs a new beginning, we have two major officeholders under indictment, and the Probate Judge had to resign. There are rumors additional people are involved. Anybody on this stage or podium who is under investigation, who has involvement with Judge Belinky and campaign contributions, or who is caught up in the Oakhill matter get off the ticket, because the party does not need any additional embarasment. Just the men and women elected as precinct committee persons should get to vote on endorsements, and vacancies in office, or appointments to the Mahoning Board of Elections."

Chairman David Betras denied that anyone has any criminal problems that is on the Executive Committee. Betras, said, "No one has any tax liens. No one up here is under criminal investigation. We are going to be the leaders, we will get past this partisan stuff, and we will unite this party and move forward. This was an insurrection by David Engler and Mark Hanni, and it failed. We have serious business to do. We have a Governor to elect, a whole statewide ticket to elect, and we have the ready for Hillary people out there. The Mahoning Valley plays a critical role in statewide and national politics.
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