Space Focuses on Forgotten Ohioans

Ohio auditor candidate Zack Space (D-Dover) came to Russell Township May 17 to talk about his race, as well as the role of the state auditor.

Speaking to a small crowd at the May 17 Geauga County Democratic Party “Spaghetti with a Hot Topic” event, Space said a lot of people in Ohio are disillusioned, disappointed and frustrated with politics.

“The feeling of having been left behind is real and justified,” Space said.

He told the group his grandparents came to the United States from Greece to escape Turkish occupation, and because of the opportunities America offered. The public needs to have an “honest conversation” about what has happened to those opportunities, he said.

Space is facing off against state Rep. Keith Faber (R-Celina) in the general election in November.

He said political greed and politics based on financial obligation is rife in Columbus.

Referencing former House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, Space said nothing is sacred when it comes to pay-to-play politics in Ohio.

According to media reports, Rosenberger resigned May 1 after the FBI launched an investigation into his extensive travel, allegedly paid for partly by lobbyists for a payday lender, while the House was considering legislation that would have more tightly regulated Ohio’s payday loan industry.

Space also hammered the legislature and current Ohio Auditor Dave Yost for failing to do more to prevent the loss of millions of dollars to the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow — which falsified attendance records in order to receive tuition dollars from the state.

“Dave Yost should have and could have stopped this nonsense years ago simply by declaring (ECOT’s) books un-auditable. They should have been declared as such and the money would have stopped,” Space said.

Space said many issues facing the state can only be resolved by the legislature, but he could, as auditor, work to “shame” the legislature into acting to stop future abuses of taxpayer dollars.

One way he hopes to do this is to create an easily-searchable database through which Ohio’s voters can see how much money individual legislators take in and compare it to how they vote on issues favored by their donors.

Space also addressed the concerns of Geauga County residents, whose former Auditor Frank Gliha was rewarded by Yost last fall with the highest award given to government entities in Ohio for a clean financial audit of fiscal year 2016.

Shortly after receiving the award, Steven Decatur’s embezzlement of over $1 million of county money came to light.

Space said local officials’ frustration with state audits is understandable and as auditor, he would make sure to open up lines of communication with municipalities, as well as new technologies, to help prevent problems before they occur.

He said the distrust local communities have of the state’s government has been earned.

Space said he wants to correct mistakes made by the Democratic party in the 2016 election by campaigning hard in around 30 Appalachian counties whose voters were largely ignored by Democrats during that race.

“Only one thing is worse politically than lying to them – it’s ignoring them,” he said.

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