TRAFICIANT,YOUNGSTOWN, LEDGENT IN CONGRESS

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Early life, education, and career

Born into a working-class Catholic family in Youngstown, Ohio, Traficant was the son of Agnes (n√©e Farkas) and James Anthony Traficant Sr.[2][3] He was of mostly Italian and Slovak ancestry.[4] Traficant graduated from Cardinal Mooney High School in 1959 and the University of Pittsburgh in 1963. He played quarterback for Pitt’s football team, and his teammates included Mike Ditka.[5] Traficant was drafted in the NFL’s twentieth round (276th overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1963, and tried out for the Steelers and the Oakland Raiders of the American Football League, but did not play professionally.[6][7] He later obtained a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh (1973) and another from Youngstown State University (1976).[8]

At the start of his career, Traficant worked as consumer finance director for the Youngstown Community Action Program. He taught courses on drug and alcohol dependency and recovery at Youngstown State University and Kent State University, as well as lecturing on drug and alcohol abuse for colleges and government agencies outside Ohio. In addition, Traficant taught at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.[9] He was the executive director of the Mahoning County Drug Program from 1971 to 1981, and Sheriff of Mahoning County from 1981 to 1985. While serving as sheriff, Traficant made national headlines by refusing to execute foreclosure orders on several unemployed homeowners, many of whom had been left out of work by the recent closures of steel mills. This endeared him to the local population, which was dealing with a declining economy following the closures and relocations of steel making and steel-associated businesses.[10]

In 1983, he was charged with racketeering for accepting bribes. Traficant, who represented himself in the criminal trial, argued that he accepted the bribes only as part of his own alleged secret undercover investigation into corruption. Traficant was acquitted of the charges, becoming the only person ever to win a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case while representing himself.[11][12]

Publicity from the RICO trial increased Traficant’s local visibility. He was elected as a Democrat to Congress from Ohio’s 17th District, defeating Lyle Williams, a three-term Republican incumbent. He was reelected eight times without serious opposition.

Upon arriving home from prison ,I met with Jim and gave him this portrait . It was painted by a friend and great local artist Louis Debonis from Ferrall Pennsylvania 

Thomas J.Lentini

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