CELINA — After being elected to the 84th District Ohio House of Representatives in 2016, Keith Faber is now running instead for Ohio Auditor.
The three candidates running for the Republican nomination to replace Faber are all similar politically, so choosing among the three may be difficult for some voters. Republicans in the 84th district will consider Travis Faber, of Celina; Susan Manchester, of Waynesfield; and Aaron Heilers from the Anna area.
The district encompasses Mercer County, eastern Auglaize County, northern Shelby County and northern Darke County.
All three candidates are Donald Trump supporters. All three back the Second Amendment right to own guns and all three are anti-abortion.
But that’s where the similarities end.
Travis Faber, an attorney by profession, may have the edge in name recognition as his uncle, Keith Faber, is the current representative of the 84th House district.
“Keith owns Faber and Associates. I’ve worked there now for about seven years,” he said.
So why did Travis Faber want to get into politics?
“My dad is a small business owner and I’ve always been devoted to helping people who work hard, people like my dad, and so that’s what I’ve done in legal practice and that’s what I want to carry on,” he said.
So how does he differentiate himself from the other two opponents, Susan Manchester and Aaron Heilers?
“I look at myself and my legal training, my background, and my business experience. Most of the law that we practice is business related, so I’ve worked with a lot of the local business owners, a lot of local community members and a lot of local farms by helping them develop plans on how to expand and grow. I’ve also represented them against government regulators like the EPA and OSHA. I think those skills, those abilities that I have from my background and frankly my ability just to read the laws and understand the process,” Faber said.
It’s worth noting that Faber was assaulted last month after confronting a New Breman man who was seen stealing Faber’s campaign signs. That man turned out to be a volunteer for Heilers’ campaign. Both Faber and Heilers criticized the actions of the volunteer.
Susan Manchester, from Waynesfield, has government experience at the federal level.
“I used to work out of Washington D.C. for Congressman Jim Jordan and while I was out there, I saw the disconnect between Washington politicians and the rest of the country. It’s the same disconnect that’s frustrated Ohioans and I felt like in order to make an impact for my hometown and my home state, I wanted to come back here and serve my community. I think there’s a tremendous amount of potential in what a representative can do if they’re really listening to the voice of the people and that’s exactly what I want to do as your state representative,” Manchester said.
So what sets her apart from Faber and Heilers?
“I believe I have the experience to get things done and the energy to see challenges through. Working for Congressman Jordan afforded me the opportunity to advance pro-life legislation in the United States Congress. I worked on a welfare reform package that would establish work requirements for government assistance programs, and I helped run one of the lowest spending offices in the country with Jordan. I believe that those experiences will help me to move legislation from point A to B and most importantly to get good conservative stuff across the finish line,” she said.
Aaron Heilers, a farmer from the Anna area, is hoping to use his experience to benefit the area.
“I believe that my background fits this district very well. I’ve lived here my entire life. I’ve been very involved in the community for over a decade now in various organizations and I farm so I have a strong agricultural background. I work in water quality and soil and water conservation, and so I think those things lend itself well to fitting the needs of the district. I think we need more common sense people in government and I feel like I’m one of those people,” Heilers said.
How is he different than Manchester and Faber?
“I think that agricultural background is something that I have that the other two don’t. Being an active farmer now involved in the soil and water side, I’m the only candidate that is married and has kids and I think that experience of raising a family lends itself well to this position. I also think that connectedness to the community [helps]. I’ve been here, heavily invested in the community and I think having a finger on the pulse of what’s important, what we stand for over here, that’s something that sets me apart from the other two,” Heilers said.
The winner of the primary will run unopposed in November as no one filed to run in the Democratic primary in May.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.