Rep. John Boccieri (D)
Elected: 2008, 1st term.
Born: Oct. 5, 1969, Youngstown .
Education: St. Bonaventure U., B.S. 1992; Webster U., M.A., M.P.A. 1996.
Family: Married (Stacey Kennedy-Boccieri); 4 children.
Military career: Air Force Reserve, 1994-present (Iraq, Afghanistan).
Elected office: Ohio House of Reps., 2000-06; Ohio Senate, 2006-08.
Professional Career: Pro baseball player, 1992; Leg. aide, state Rep. Rich Cordray, 1992-94.
The new congressman from the 16th Congressional District is John Boccieri, a Democrat elected in 2008. The son of schoolteachers, Boccieri grew up in Youngstown and went to college on a baseball scholarship, graduating from New York’s St. Bonaventure University in 1992 with a degree in economics. He tried out for several Major League baseball teams and played a season as an outfielder and catcher in the independent professional Frontier League. He made the transition to politics by taking a job as a legislative aide to Democratic state Rep. Rich Cordray, who later became Ohio treasurer. In 2000, Boccieri was elected to the Ohio House, where he rose to assistant minority whip, the fourth-ranking Democratic position in the House. (A member of the Air Force Reserve, he had to give up the post in 2003 when he was called to Iraq to fly cargo planes.) In 2006, he won a seat in the state Senate, where he carved out a niche working on veterans issues. He sponsored a bill that sought job protection for service members returning from active duty. His cosponsor was Republican state Sen. Kurt Schuring, who would become his opponent for the House seat.
|John Boccieri (D)||169,044||(55%)||($1,722,377)|
|Kirk Schuring (R)||136,293||(45%)||($1,208,527)|
|John Boccieri (D)||71,038||(64%)|
|Mary Cirelli (D)||40,429||(36%)|
Boccieri decided to run for the U.S. House after 18-term Rep. Ralph Regula announced his retirement at age 84. Schuring was Regula’s handpicked successor and won the GOP primary 47%-42% against Ashland County Commissioner Matt Miller. Money and the issue of residency played major roles in the general election campaign. Boccieri raised nearly $1.8 million to Schuring’s $1.2 million. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee invested heavily in the race, spending more than $300,000 just days before the election. The National Republican Congressional Committee, strapped for cash, all but gave up on the seat in the weeks leading up to the election. Schuring complained that the Democrats were “trying to buy the seat” and criticized Boccieri for having only recently moved to Alliance from outside the district and for changing his voter registration. But Boccieri won this formerly Republican territory by a surprisingly large 55%-45% split. In Stark County, which cast 59% of the vote, he led 57%-43%. He lost 51%-49% in Ashland, the smallest county in the district.
In the House, Boccieri was named to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and to the Agriculture Committee for the 111th Congress (2009-2010).