Can a Democratic congressman bring Silicon Valley to the Mahoning Valley?

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO — Even the most poetic of storytellers will candidly admit a community cannot survive on tales of used-to-bes and remember-whens.

Here in the Mahoning Valley, reminiscence of days gone by has been, for the better part of 40 years, the only fuel that has kept people hanging on for something better.

 And as much as Rep. Tim Ryan loves to wax nostalgia about his life growing up here in the shadows of a once-great industrial boomtown, he knows nostalgia does not attract job creators. Ideas, a populace renowned for its work ethic, and affordable acreage for investment, will.

All the Democratic congressman from Niles, Ohio, needed to do was connect the haves with the have-nots to make that happen.

“I think it’s my job, and other civic leaders’, to try to break down these barriers and try to get people together, and that’s what this is all about,” Ryan said.

Which is just what Ryan did last Wednesday when he gathered venture capitalists, most of them from Silicon Valley, in Youngstown for a series of meetings with a variety of civic, education, and business leaders, and then loaded them all on a bus for stops in Akron, Detroit, and Flint, Mich., with a final stop in South Bend, Ind. on Friday.

“There is an incredible amount of wealth and investments all largely going to just three states: California, New York, and Massachusetts,” Ryan said as he was just about to board the bus packed with West Coast investors, some of whom had never been to the Rust Belt.

Read the full piece HERE.

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