Voters Guide: Faber vs. Sappington in race for Ohio Auditor of State

All candidates for local and state office were sent the same series of questions by the Dayton Daily News. Our goal was to help voters make informed choices in the Nov. 8 election (early voting for which begins Oct. 12).

The race for Ohio Auditor of State is between Republican incumbent Keith Faber and Democratic challenger Taylor Sappington. The candidates’ answers are below, in their own words. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Keith Faber

Residence: Celina

Organizations, boards, previous elected positions: State Senator, President of the Ohio Senate, State Representative, Celina Rotary, Farm Bureau, National Federation of Independent Businesses

Education: JD, Ohio State

Current employment: Auditor of State

Why are you seeking elected office: The State Auditor’s office is the one position in state government specifically designed to hold the government accountable. It has been an honor to serve in this position these past 4 years, and I look forward to continuing to represent the people of Ohio working to make our state government more efficient and effective.

Why should voters elect you: In my first term as Auditor, I’ve delivered on my promises to the people of Ohio. I have convicted more than 90 corrupt public officials of stealing your tax dollars, I uncovered more than $5 billion in fraud and overpayments in Ohio’s unemployment system, and I identified hundreds of millions of dollars in inefficient government spending. In my second term, I hope to build on these successes.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? If I’m reelected, I will build upon what I have done in my first term. I will continue catching those lying, cheating, and stealing with tax dollars, working to find greater efficiencies in state government spending, and being a watchdog of your tax dollars.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? We will continue the work we have done throughout our first term to root out waste, fraud, and abuse wherever it appears.

Anything else you would like voters to know? When I was a legislator, I was awarded watchdog of the treasury. As your State Auditor, I have been your watchdog on state tax dollars. My record is clear, more than 90 public officials are now convicted criminals because of my work and I’ve made recommendations to save the state of Ohio hundreds of millions of dollars. My 2nd term will build upon this work.

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Taylor Sappington

Residence: Nelsonville

Organizations, boards, previous elected positions: Nelsonville City Auditor, Nelsonville City Council, Previous Board Member on a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Board, Member of Nelsonville Rotary

Education: BS in Political Science, Ohio University; In Progress: Master’s in Public Administration, Ohio University

Current employment: Nelsonville City Auditor

Why are you seeking elected office: I’m running for Auditor to balance the books and catch the crooks across Ohio, just like I did in my hometown. We deserve leadership that understands the struggle and knows the difference between right and wrong. I am offering that key choice to the voters this year in the race for State Auditor.

Why should voters elect you: As Nelsonville City Auditor, I started an investigation on day one which led to the largest theft and fraud bust in my city’s history after just eight weeks on the job. I took on the IRS when they tried to levy fines against us for the theft, and I saved our city when the census tried to downgrade it to a village. I’ve got a proven track record as a watchdog for my constituents, and I’ll deliver those results for the rest of Ohio as well.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? Establishing a public corruption task force; Fighting for Fair, Honest maps on the redistricting commission; increasing the number of special audits to ensure the culture of corruption in state government is beaten.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? I would create a public corruption task force to take on the culture of corruption plaguing our state. Too often, our bureaucratic systems can get siloed in such a way that allows corruption to continue. I want to make sure there’s a specific group of people who are tasked every day with holding bad actors, corrupt politicians, and anyone else who’s responsible for cheating Ohioans to account.

I’ll do whatever it takes to get the fair maps Ohioans demanded as a member of the commission. If the commission refuses to do it’s job again, then I’ll help lead the charge to create a better system.

Special Audits are the reports done on corruption around the state by the State Auditor’s office. The auditor’s office used to produce 20-30 special audits per year. Since taking office, while Ohio’s undergone the worst corruption in it’s history, there have been just eight special audits. There have been 0 special audits this year to date. I’ll use the full power of the Auditor’s office to take on and take down the culture of corruption in state government.

Anything else you would like voters to know? Not long ago, I was just a kid, being raised by my single mom in a trailer on a hill. I’m no stranger to disconnect notices, I know how quickly a trailer heats up, I remember the car getting repossessed. I’m a regular guy, running for office to do the right thing for my community.

Ohio is being run by a criminal class of republicans who have been in elected office as long or longer than I have been alive. The antidote to this level of corruption is regular people, like me and the rest of the democratic ticket, who are in this because we want to do right by our communities.