New congressman chooses experienced assistant

WARREN, Ohio (AP) - U.S. Rep.-elect Timothy J. Ryan has hired a chief of staff with 24 years of experience on Capitol Hill.

Mary Ann Walsh, 47, first met Ryan after his win in the Democratic primary over her former boss -- former Congressman Tom Sawyer, whose Akron-based district was combined with the Youngstown territory once held by expelled Congressman James A. Traficant Jr.

Ryan, of Niles, will be sworn in Jan. 7 as the new 17th District congressman. He plans to have offices in Washington, Warren, Youngstown and Akron.

Ryan (pictured, above) said Walsh's longtime friend, Summit County Democratic Party Chairman Russ Pry, and Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic recommended her for the job.

Walsh is leaving as chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Bradley J. Sherman, D-Calif., for whom she has worked since 2000. Walsh worked for Sawyer before joining Sherman.

"I feel like I am going home. I have a passionate appreciation for the interests and needs of northeast Ohio," she said.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)