Ryan Gets Labor Endorsement

KENT, Ohio (AP) - The state's largest labor federation endorsed state Sen. Timothy Ryan (pictured, right) in the newly drawn 17th Congressional District, instead of longtime labor leader Warren Davis, who is running as an independent.

Ryan, 28, of Niles, said the Ohio AFL-CIO's endorsement would help him win in the blue-collar district, which stretches from Akron to Youngstown.

"This clearly defines who the labor candidate is," the Democrat said.

The AFL-CIO's 48 member unions represent nearly 74,000 workers in the district, including 47,600 registered voters. Another 50,000 retired union workers live in the district, said David Kolbe, the federation's political director.

Davis, of Bay Village, was director for nearly 20 years of the United Auto Workers' Region 2. He recently had a falling out with leaders of the union, which eliminated Region 2 at its national convention.

"I'm amazed," Davis said, of the federation's endorsement of Ryan. "If he can vote for privatizing schools," he said of a vote Ryan cast in the Ohio Senate, "could anybody trust him not to vote for the privatization of Social Security?"

Bill Burga, president of the Ohio AFL-CIO, said Davis would not be a factor in the race, since the UAW withdrew its endorsement of him.

The federation will lead a voter registration drive and campaign for Ryan, Burga said.

Ryan faces Davis, state Rep. Ann Womer Benjamin, a Republican from Aurora, and U.S. Rep. James Traficant, who was convicted in April on bribery charges and is running as an independent.

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