Jim Traficant was a legendary quarterback turned mob busting Walking Tall Sheriff who rose to power on a platform of “honesty in politics”. He quickly ascended to the hallowed halls of Congress, becoming its most outspoken member. "Jimbo" as his die-hard supporters called him, was known for his polyester thrift store suits, shock top wigs, vulgar humor and profanity laced rhetoric against the FBI, IRS, and every president since Reagan. His one minute speeches made C-SPAN must see programming, as he signed off with his patented “Beam Me Up!”
In his post-industrial hometown of Youngstown, Ohio -- dubbed Crimetown, USA for being the most mobbed up city in America -- "Jimbo" was a living legend, once garnering more than 90% of the vote. However, the eccentric maverick also had a dark side, becoming only the second Member of Congress expelled since the Civil War, eventually spending over seven years in federal prison on bribery and tax evasion charges.
After serving seven years in federal prison, Traficant re-emerged in the public eye trumpeting his innocence – like a king returning from exile. In 2010, he ran against Congressman Tim Ryan and finished last, but did garner 30,000 votes!
From the Rust Belt to the Tech Belt -- Youngstown is enjoying a comeback that’s earned worldwide media recognition and global investment. In fact, President Obama stated “A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize everything.”
R.I.P. James A. Traficant, Jr. (1941-2014)
First of all, we extend our deepest sympathies to the entire Traficant family. The recent news of his passing was shocking and sad.
Traficant was larger-than-life -- with equal parts Congressional jester and working-class hero . No matter your side of the issue, he was an incredibly polarizing figure. Now, with his passing, the debate is re-ignited:
Was Traficant the #1 target of a vengeful government or a mobbed-up pariah that violated his people’s trust? Remembering TRAFICANT:
"The flamboyant former Youngstown sheriff-turned-congressman-turned convict died Sept. 27 after being crushed by an old tractor on his farm, which is no small irony since the farm was the center of the corruption trial that sent him to prison. Traficant was one of a kind in American politics." -- USA TODAY
"Traficant was something Mark Twain or Dickens would have dreamt up if they were writing fiction today..." -- Cleveland.com
" In Washington, Mr. Traficant was an anti-establishment eccentric in the buttoned-up capital..." -- New York Times