Lawmakers weigh in on YDC fight to stay open

YDC to close in Youngstown

MINERAL RIDGE, Ohio (WKBN) – The fight continues to keep the Youngstown Developmental Center open.

The center is scheduled to close in 2017 because of budget cuts, leaving employees without jobs and disabled residents without a home.

Valley Congressman Tim Ryan said he is concerned about how leaders are deciding to save money and thinks there should be a better way to trim the budget.

“Blind cuts, pushing the problem off, they don’t see it in Washington, D.C., but it hits the ground in Youngstown, Ohio and here we are left to deal with it,” Ryan said.

Ryan believes part of the problem in the decision to close the Youngstown Developmental Center is lawmakers not fully understanding how it impacts those hit the hardest.

“Those families deserve our support. They are our fellow citizens. They live in our community. I think we are all willing to help them out,” Ryan said.

The YDC community has the support of many local lawmakers, but the decision stretches beyond the Mahoning Valley.

“Sometimes on paper, things don’t match reality and that is the part I struggle with down in Columbus, said State Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-32nd District. “When people make these decisions from Columbus and they don’t reach out to the folks it impacts correctly, that is when I get upset,” Schiavoni said.

Fighting to be heard, those families and employees traveled to Columbus Tuesday to testify during an Ohio House committee meeting, but they want more people in power to hear them.

Ryan says more must be done to look out for families in need.

“They were more cuts made to Medicaid over the course of the next ten years, deep cuts to other programs that would be helpful to families like that, so we got to decide as a country what we want to do with regards to citizens that need our assistance,” Ryan said.

Schiavoni said he is looking into creating a law that would make a committee of 13 people responsible for deciding what facilities are closed, instead of a decision made by one person. He also said more hearings about YDC are planned for the next few weeks.

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