The Democratic candidate for Ohio Auditor, Zack Space, was the keynote speaker Tuesday night for the Fayette County Democrats Fall Dinner at the American Legion Post 25 in Washington C.H.
Space practiced law for nearly 20 years in his hometown of Dover, Ohio, where he served as a public defender and as Dover’s city law director. In 2006, he was elected to serve as the Congressman from Ohio’s 18th District, comprising 16 counties in rural southeastern Ohio.
He is running against Republican Keith Faber and Robert Coogan, of the Libertarian Party, at the Nov. 6 general election. Incumbent Dave Yost, who was first elected in 2010, is term-limited, making this an open-seat race.
In congruence with the other Democratic candidates in attendance, Space railed against the divisions, gerrymandering and extremism that he said has spread throughout the state and the nation.
“Think about all the divisions we have in this society where we are divided now by race, by age, we’re divided by income, we’re divided by geography, we’re divided by the political party, of course,” he said. “These divisions are dangerous and they’re unhealthy. It needs to end.”
Space added that the current Republican-controlled state government is doing nothing to heal these divisions.
“Your government is actually helping to perpetuate these divisions by its very structure,” Space said. “Politics has become a lightning rod for all of our divisions. It’s a platform to exacerbate our many divisions. Every 10 years because of our Constitution and because we live in a representational democracy, we have to account for shifting and moving populations. It’s natural…our Constitution says the politicians have to redraw these lines. They have to redistrict every 10 years to account for these moving populations. This somewhat archaic Constitutional provision has been turned into the most powerful of weapons. It has been used with one thing in mind…how can one party gain partisan advantage over another.”
Space said that Republican gerrymandering has become insidious over the past 20 years, which has empowered extremism.
“That extremism renders government dysfunctional,” he said. “Government can’t work when people of the opposite parties can’t sit down and talk. They can’t moderate their sensibilities, they can’t negotiate and they can’t compromise. This creates cynicism. People don’t trust our democracy anymore because they understand that it’s working for politicians, but not for everybody else.”
Space said that if elected state auditor, he would use the broad power of the office to deliver much-needed reform to state government. He said he’s committed to shining a light on the corrupting influence of money in politics, ending extreme partisan gerrymandering, and serving as a watchdog for hardworking Ohio families.
“The auditor, along with the secretary of state and governor…hopefully that’s going to be Kathleen Clyde and Rich Cordray…are going to sit on the redistricting commission. We can and we will end gerrymandering in Ohio,” Space said. “What the auditor is supposed to do is serve as a watchdog for your taxpayer dollars…to oversee your money. If your taxpayer dollars are being used to pay off political donors, the auditor has a constitutional responsibility to do something about it. As your next auditor, I’m going to do something about it.”
Space said his father, Socrates Space, taught him what it means to be a Democrat.
“What we believe as Democrats is we aspire to social justice. A process, a system where everybody matters,” Space said. “It doesn’t matter how much money you make, what color your skin is, where you live, how much you give to donors, everybody matters. This is justice in accessing quality education, justice in accessing health care, racial justice, environmental justice, justice in accessing opportunity, gender justice…all these things fall under the umbrella of social justice. If we do not demand political justice in this state, we will never see social justice. This is our time to demand political justice.”
Other speakers at Tuesday’s dinner, held in front of over 100 locals, were Beth Workman, Democratic candidate for the State House of Representatives, 92nd District, and Scott Dailey, Democratic candidate for State Senator of the 17th District.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica