LIMA — While the office of Ohio Auditor may not carry with it the same level of name recognition as a governor or congressional representative, it is an important one with powers that, according to one candidate, can be used for the benefit of Ohioans.
That was the message from Democrat Zack Space, a former congressman who announced his candidacy for state auditor Tuesday at United Association Local 776 in Lima, part of a campaign kickoff tour that also included stops in Martins Ferry, Zanesville and east Columbus.
“These are communities that have been left behind by the modern economy and the current political process,” he said. “The voices of the rural and urban poor and middle class cannot be heard above the din of special interests and political ambition that has flooded Capitol Square.”
A native of Dover, Space has been an attorney for more than 30 years and has experience with local and federal government as well as various economic development initiatives in eastern Ohio. For him, the two areas in which the auditor can best serve constituents is in addressing corruption in state politics, citing the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow and the $60 million it was ordered to repay taxpayers, and reversing the gerrymandering of political districts, since the auditor sits on the committee that will oversee redistricting after the 2020 census.
“Just about every district has been drawn with just one thing in mind: how does one party, the party in control when those districts are drawn, obtain political advantage?” he said. “When I’m the auditor, I will not be factoring in the careers of politicians or the benefits to parties, be they Democrat or Republican, when those lines are drawn.”
Space also said he would conduct audits on state programs to find what works and what doesn’t in terms of allocating state funds.
“We can use that to make decisions and assessments on what works best to combat the opioid epidemic, for example, and what doesn’t work,” he said. “What does it mean to those communities to lose local government funding when we can barely afford to pay our firefighters, our police officers, fix our roads and educate our children? The auditor can assess that.”
On the Republican side, state Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina, has announced his candidacy for auditor, with the election to be held in 2018.