Chamber chief says next mayor needs to make city efficient

Aired April 10, 2013 on WYSU 

Who’s the right mayor for Youngstown? Thomas Humphries, president of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, says part of that answer has to do with where the city is in its life cycle. He recently sat down with News Outlet reporter Andrew Donofrio and explained the role economics should play in the 2013 mayoral election.


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Thomas Humphries, president of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, says the economy in the Mahoning Valley has stabilized. He says the next mayor of Youngstown has to maintain the growth and work to improve the city’s efficiency. (Andrew Donofrio/TheNewsOutlet.org)

Thomas Humphries, president of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, says the economy in the Mahoning Valley has stabilized. He says the next mayor of Youngstown has to maintain the growth and work to improve the city’s efficiency. (Andrew Donofrio/TheNewsOutlet.org)

When it comes to economics, Humphries says cities go through cycles:  growth, downturn and stabilization.

We probably were in the downturn for 30 years.

After 1977 steel crisis, the community waited for manufacturing jobs to return, jobs that could support a family.

We saw people sitting around waiting thinking that was going to come back, and they waited for years because they thought it would come back. And, it didn’t.

The former general manager for Sprint’s Ohio East region says were in a shrinking environment, but that we’ve reached a period of stabilization

We probably started leveling out about two or three years ago. What’s happening now is we’re starting to see a lot of industry come in.

Though the gas and oil industry is the most widely publicized, Humphries insists …

The gas and oil has been a big help, but that’s only about 45 percent of what we’re seeing.

He says there’s also been growth in telecommunications companies, the nearby auto industry and in warehouse distribution centers. Humphries says assistance from the federal government has also helped bring in companies like Exal.

Exal is a good example. It’s an aluminum can manufacturer. And if you look at the facility, they have about 350 people that work right outside my window.

That window is on the 16th floor of the First National Bank Building downtown.

Of the mayoral candidates, Humphries believes both McNally and Brown bring value to the position. He gives McNally the edge in organizational skill and Brown a slight advantage in interpersonal skill. Humphries suggests the next mayor be a caretaker.

So that’s what I think we need in the next mayor is somebody that can maintenance and continue to improve the efficiency of the city and yet be able to have enough vision to lead us into the next 10 years.

Absentee balloting is underway. On April 25, candidates will release updated campaign contributions. In the coming weeks, The News Outlet will keep you up-to-date on the 2013 mayoral race. For TheNewsOutlet.org, I’m Andrew Donofrio.

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