A Gentleman from Ohio – The 1st 5 Minutes
- Leon Panetta
- Gov. John Kasich
- Ret. Congresswoman Mary Rose Oacker
- Amb. Tim Timken
- Sen. Sherrod Brown
- Cong. Tim Ryan
- Columnist Brent Larkin
- Bob DeHoff
- Constituents 16th Cong. Dist.
- Former Constituents
Regula was about ‘constituents, bipartisanship and integrity.
Ron Ponder finished work on a documentary about Ralph Regula’s life and career just two weeks ago.
“We needed to get on record his achievements and we just made it,” Ponder said Thursday after the announcement of the former congressman’s death.
Ponder said he always liked Regula, but was even more impressed after spending a year talking with him, his family and others for the documentary.
“He was all about the constituents,” Ponder said. “The constituents, bipartisanship and integrity.”
There are two versions of the hourlong documentary.
“Ralph Regula: The Gentleman From Ohio” will be shown locally and will include more about Regula’s life and regional accomplishments.
“Congress: The Regula Way” will look at Regula’s impact on the country with a national audience in mind.
The Stark Community Foundation underwrote the project, and Western Reserve Public Media will air “Ralph Regula: The Gentleman From Ohio” at 6 and 10 p.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday and 10 p.m. Tuesday on Channels 45 and 49. Other air dates can be found at westernreservepbs.org.
Regula recently watched the finished product. His son, Richard, reported that his father smiled throughout the screening, Ponder said.
The project uncovered stories the public didn’t always see, like the time Regula helped a constituent get his electricity restored over Christmas or tracked down luggage lost on a Greyhound bus.
Prominent Democrats, such as U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Leon Panetta, also worked with Regula, who was a Republican.
“He was very successful in reaching across the aisle, and we no longer see that,” Ponder said.
It was a quality Ponder experienced the first time he met Regula. At the time, Ponder was the local NAACP president, and his impression of most Republicans was that they were ambivalent toward African-American issues. He challenged Regula, who was speaking at a luncheon, but Regula came over to him later and explained all the ways he was trying to help.
Ponder said he was embarrassed, and learned a valuable lesson.
“You don’t judge people based on stereotypes,” Ponder said, “and you try to meet them on common ground.”
Reach Shane at 330-580-8338 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @shooverREP