By DENISE GRANT
If elected as Ohio’s next auditor, state Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina, says he will work hard to catch those who would “lie, cheat, steal and play fast with the state’s money.”
Faber made a campaign stop Tuesday in Findlay, meeting with The Courier’s editorial board, and reporters from both the newspaper and WFIN radio.
Faber, who has already logged over 100,000 miles in his campaign, said he’s excited about the opportunity, but disappointed with the tone of the campaign so far.
He said his challenger, Democrat Zack Space, is trying to lump Faber in with Republican scandals in Columbus, including the bankruptcy of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, an online charter school, and the recent resignation of Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, who had been accepting expensive trips from payday lenders.
“They even tried to tie me in with the whole Cliff Hite thing,” Faber said.
Hite, R-Findlay, a former state senator for Ohio District 1, resigned in late 2017 after admitting “inappropriate behavior” with a state employee.
But Faber said he’ll run a clean campaign and focus on winning the auditor’s office, which he says has the capability to make some real changes in Ohio’s government.
Faber was elected as representative of Ohio House District 84 in 2016. The 84th District includes northern Darke County, most of Shelby and Auglaize counties, and all of Mercer County.
Faber also served in the Ohio House from 2001 to 2006, and is a former member of the Ohio Senate, where he represented District 12. He served in the state Senate from 2007 through 2016.
Ohio’s state auditor works to ensure that the state and its agencies operate efficiently. The office conducts both fiscal and performance audits for state agencies, along with municipalities.
Faber is highly supportive of performance audits, and as auditor, said he would rely on them to help improve government efficiency and save money.
Under state law, performance audits must be performed on at least four state agencies every two years. Cities and counties can volunteer for a performance audit.
A performance audit of the Ohio auditor’s office in 2011 led to the restructuring of several departments and has saved the state nearly $1 million to date, he said.
Ohio’s auditor also holds a seat on the Ohio Apportionment Board, which draws legislative districts for the Ohio General Assembly every 10 years following the U.S. census. Other apportionment board members include the governor, secretary of state, a Senate leader of the same party and a member selected by the House.
Faber called the “apportionment board duties” a small part of the auditor’s responsibilities.
State auditors serve four-year terms and are limited to two consecutive terms. Ohio Auditor David Yost, who is term-limited, is seeking election as Ohio’s attorney general this fall.
Faber said a statewide campaign is much more expensive to run than a campaign for an Ohio House or Senate seat. He said one week of statewide television advertisements can cost $1 million, and he said fundraising is a “must do.”