YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — After announcing his run for the Democratic nominee for president earlier this week, Congressman Tim Ryan held his first local campaign rally in Youngstown.
He spoke to a crowd outside of the Youngstown Business Incubator, telling his supporters that he is just a kid from Niles who was raised by the community. He said he believes that’s something that America needs to get back to.
“Where it’s OK for us to say, ‘I care about you. I love you. I’m going to want to help you, and I’m going to do everything in my power to help you,'” he said.
Ryan then talked of the current division in the country, saying it’s that division that has prevented the nation from being the best it could be — referencing Black Monday, the closing of the Delphi plant and Lordstown.
“I want us to come together as a country,” he said. “I want us to seize the future of this country. We are a great country, and we can do it if we come together.”
Ryan pledged to show true grit, saying he will work to make lives through jobs, healthcare, schools and reinvesting in communities.
Those promises resonated with many of those in attendance.
“He’s for the working-class people, and that’s exactly what I am. We’re all working-class people,” said Bob Keller, of Youngstown.
“He hit all the points — jobs, health care, everything we need,” said Debbie Hicks, of Youngstown.
“It’s gonna be a hard road, but I think he’s bringing Youngstown and our community to the attention of the country, and that is a good thing,” said Bob Clyde, of Liberty Township.
“It restores a sense of hope and urgency that we need these blue collar people to run things,” said Bob Floyd, of Youngstown.
Ryan wrapped up the rally with a quote from Muhammad Ali, adding a spin for the Valley and nation:
“We’re either up or we’re getting up. Help me do this. I need your help. I need your support. I need your love. I need your voice. Let’s go take back the White House!”
While there were a lot of supporters, there was at least one protester.
Carmen Decchio, of Liberty Township, walked the perimeter of the event with a sign that said, “Trump USA Strong.”
He said he has voted Democrat most of his life and hopes Ryan wins the Democratic nomination, but he will not be voting for him.
“I’ll vote for Trump, only because I feel like he’s done more than Tim Ryan’s done,” he said.
Decchio was silent in his protest, but that didn’t stop a few people from coming up and arguing with him. He said, for the most part, he was unphased, saying it’s only a difference of opinion.