Residents remember a ‘champion’ in Traficant

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Residents in the Valley are mourning the death of former Valley Congressman Jim Traficant.

A day after the announcement that Traficant died from injuries he sustained in a tractor accident at his family’s farm, Valley residents are remembering him as a “Man of the People” with many political accomplishments.

Traficant is responsible for many brick and mortar projects in the Valley, including funding for two federal courthouses, the Covelli Centre and the 711 connector. He also championed the fight for accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk. Traficant felt Demjanjuk was wrongly accused.

“He is the proverbial “Man of the People” who emerges. You know he is David, he fights Goliath and of course that earns him enormous popularity, particularly at a time when the economy was crushed,” said Dr. Paul Sracic, chairman YSU Department of Political Studies.

Supporters are quick to mention that Traficant was down to earth and easy to talk to.

“I liked him because he was Jim Traficant every time, everywhere you saw him,” said Clarence Glenn. “That is the way he was and that is what he will be remembered for.”

Traficant’s court battles and imprisonment made headlines over the years, but many residents easily put all that aside and are remembering his accomplishments.

“I think he left behind a good legacy. He did a lot of things, positive things for the community and I heard he did a lot in Washington also,” said Keiv Gilmore.

“This Valley always looks for a hero, always looking for a champion, and he was that champion,” Sracic said.

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