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Youngstown to welcome ex-Rep. Traficant

Sept. 2, 2009 at 2:34 PM   |   Comments

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Federal prison officials said former U.S. Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio, was being released Wednesday after serving seven years for bribery.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer said Traficant planned to return to his home turf in Youngstown, Ohio, where his reputation still has some of its old luster.

"People in this valley adored Jim Traficant," said pizzeria owner John Thompson. "He actually cared about people here. He spoke for the little guy."

T-shirts saying "Welcome Home, Jimbo" were being sold around Youngstown, and 1,000 people are expected to attend a dinner in his honor this weekend, the newspaper said.

Traficant, 68, was known for sometimes-crude vitriol and fierce opposition to the Internal Revenue Service and international trade policies that he said hurt his constituents. His 18-year tenure as a Democratic member of the House ended in 2002 with his conviction on 10 corruption-related counts.

Traficant's wife told the Plain Dealer her husband planned to re-connect with his family, but she did not know his long-term plans.

Convicted felons are not prohibited from serving in Congress, and the newspaper said some of his old supporters have kicked around the idea of running him for office again.

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