POMEROY — Democratic candidate for Ohio Auditor Zack Space made a stop in Pomeroy on Wednesday as part of his three-day “Ohio River Tour to Restore.”
Space spoke about the issues with the current political system, including the impact of money in politics.
Space explained his reasons for coming to Southern Ohio and running for Auditor. Announcing his campaign earlier this year in Martins Ferry, Space said that Martins Ferry is much like Pomeroy, Gallipolis and other cities and areas in the region which have been left behind by the current democracy.
The most basic fundamentals and principles have been compromised by money and political self interest, said Space.
He explained that the auditor is a watchdog over tax payer money, using the example of ECOT, the online school which has come under fire for its attendance rates. Space explained that money has been taken from local education to give to ECOT, with the money unable to be tracked once it is placed in private investment funds. He sited a 40 percent graduation rate for the school, and a 30 percent daily attendance rate.
Money holds a large influence in politics, stated Space, citing examples. First, Space stated that officials can spend 10, 20 or more hours per week on fundraising which is a waste of time when they could be dealing with problems and what they were elected to do. Secondly, money has an improper influence on the creation of laws and policies. He added that he understands why people voted for President Donald Trump last fall, as the process has given credence to the claim of Trump that the system is rigged, as it is rigged by money and political self interest.
”Your democracy is for sale,” said Space.
The democracy is also compromised by the way districts are drawn every 10 years in the state, said Space.
The provision on redistricting has been “weaponized,” allowing the party in power at the time to draw the districts in a way to allow for them to remain in office and keep power.
Government is an active participant in the division of our society with the districts drawn as they are, said Space. The only risk to incumbents is in the primary with someone more to the right or left than the incumbent. The center and those a little left or right are not being represented, said Space.
Space added that there is a growing divide between areas that have money and areas that do not in the state, and that this democracy is not helping this part of the state.
Space, a former U.S. Congressman, represented a portion of Appalachian counties during his time in Congress.
Roger Grace, a former United Methodist Pastor and co-founder of the Meigs Cooperative Parish, briefly introduced the candidate.
Taylor Sappington, a Democrat from Nelsonville, was also present at the event. The current Nelsonville Councilman has announced his intent to run for State Representative of the 94th district next year.
Earlier in the day, Space met with superintendents in Gallia County. He concluded the day with visits to Glouster and Belpre before continuing through southeast Ohio on Wednesday.
After speaking at the library, Space visited the Mulberry Community Center, which is home to the Meigs Cooperative Parish.