By Ryan Berry
GREENVILLE — Three of Ohio’s top officials attended the Darke County Republican Hog Roast on Sunday to drum up support for their races as well as encourage voters to vote for Republicans across the tickets. Governor Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Auditor Keith Faber made their case for support.
Governor DeWine shared that Ohio emerged from the pandemic as a “strong state.” He admits it was a great tragedy and many people died, but declared Ohio is moving forward. “We are creating jobs every single day. It’s not just Intel. Intel is kind of a symbol of what we’ve been doing. Honda’s announcement this past week. That’s a big deal. It’s going to cover a number of counties they will be drawing from. They will certainly be drawing from the Dayton area. Ohio’s moving forward.” He pointed out Ohio has the lowest taxes it has had since 1979 and the highest bond rating since the 1970s.
The governor pointed out the cost of living in Ohio is what is attracting businesses to the state. “You compare our cost of living to the west coast, east coast – there’s a reason close to 50 new companies have come to Ohio from the west coast since I became governor. The cost of living is so much better. Taxes are lower. We’re predictable as far as regulations. We’re moving forward. We need to continue this.”
DeWine is putting the focus on Ohioans living up to their “God-given potential.” He said, “That’s how we move Ohio forward. Put a focus on our career centers and community colleges. Early childhood education is important. We want kids to start kindergarten and be right up there at the starting line. What Fran (DeWine) is doing with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library is one example of our real focus on early childhood education and early childhood development.”
According to DeWine, there isn’t a lot state government can do to stop the federal government’s spending, which he believes causes high inflation. “I can’t, as governor, have an impact on that. What we simply have to do is grow the economy. Grow the economy as fast we can. Create good paying jobs for people. Hope the federal government, at some point, gets their act together. This race for the U.S. Senate is an important race. It may well determine who controls the U.S. Senate. That’s very, very important.”
Secretary of State LaRose highlighted his record on reliable elections. “I’m out here talking to Ohioans about how to keep our elections honest and that’s what I’ve done over the last four years,” said LaRose.
He is proud of his office’s efforts in 2020 to given Ohioans an election that was “both honest and accessible.” He continued, “When a lot of other states failed that test or couldn’t give the results on election night. Ohio did it right. We were able to manage through the challenges of a pandemic. Nobody was happy about any of the stuff we had to deal with that year, but we had a record turnout. We audited the results and people knew that it was an honest contest.” LaRose now requires all elections to be audited. He reminded voters that voting machines in Ohio are secure and are not hooked up to the Internet.
LaRose believes Issue 2 will also have an impact on the integrity of elections in Ohio. “(I’m) trying to remind them how important it is to vote yes on Issue 2, which is a really common-sense initiative to make sure only citizens can cast a ballot in Ohio. A few years ago, we didn’t think that was something we had to worry about. But, the village of Yellow Springs, down in Greene County, wanted to allow non-citizens to vote. I was able to stop them. What it showed is there is a loophole in the law because it’s not black and white when it comes to local elections.”
He encouraged voters to vote the whole, not just the top couple of choices, but all the way through the judges, local candidates and issues.
The secretary of state has also put an emphasis on recruiting poll workers. He noted that burden previously fell on the county board of elections. His office understands the difficulty of recruiting the nearly 50,000 people it takes to staff 4,000 polling locations throughout Ohio. He said, “We started partnering with schools, for example, and started recruiting high school students to be poll workers. If you are a 17-year-old high school senior, you can be a poll worker. Or, reaching out to fellow veterans and asking them to answer a second call to duty by being a poll worker.”
Auditor Keith Faber said his job isn’t about auditing citizens but auditing the government. “I get to audit government. I get to be your watchdog and the 6,000 entities across the state that spend tax dollars,” he said. “Unfortunately, business has been pretty good. Since I’ve been your state auditor, we have convicted more than 90 individuals for lying, stealing and cheating from government. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. We also found more than $5 billion in fraud and overpayments during the pandemic with unemployment.”
The candidates encouraged voters to vote yes on Issue 1 and Issue 2.
Issue 1 requires judges to take public safety into account when the set bail.
Issue 2 requires voters to be citizens of the United States and Ohio to vote in local elections.
To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].