GOP state auditor candidate Faber emphasizes ‘better, faster, cheaper’ government
MANSFIELD — Better, faster, cheaper.
That’s the approach Keith Faber, State Rep. for Ohio’s 84th district, would like to take on state government if elected this November as Ohio auditor.
The Republican candidate said he’s running for state auditor to make government work better and be more transparent, more effective and more efficient.
“The state auditor’s office is the one office you can go to in state government and really impact the way things work,” he said.
It doesn’t collect taxes or audit individuals — unless they touch government money, he said.
“What it really does is audit government,” he said. “You catch people lying, stealing and cheating with government money.
“And with performance audits, you can go into state agencies and give them suggestions on how to be more effective to improve customer service and to do things in a way that gets the job done better, faster, cheaper.”
Faber previously served eight years in the Ohio Senate and was elected Ohio Senate president from 2013 to 2016.
As Senate president, he said he was instrumental in reducing the cost of higher education through Senate 5% Challenge, which resulted in an average decrease in the cost of a degree by 11.7 percent statewide.
He also drafted the Common Sense Initiative, which has reduced new regulatory filings in Ohio by almost 50 percent, he said.
“We have proven that you can do government better, faster, cheaper,” he said.
One of his goals, if elected, is to increase the number of performance audits to state agencies.
“Dave Yost, our current state auditor, who I think has done a real good job, has been able to save close to a quarter billion dollars with performance audits,” Faber said. “I think he’s only scratching the surface, particularly when it comes to state agencies.”
Ideally he would like every state agency (roughly 23 to 26 total) to be performance audited once every four years — a significant increase from the approximate two state agency performance audits that are completed each year, he said.
“I really want to make it quicker, better and try to do one every four years because I think there are agencies that you can profit from getting information and suggestions of ways they can do things better, faster, cheaper,” he said.
This doesn’t exclude the auditor’s office.
“Certainly we’re going to performance audit our own agency,” he said. “We’re going to have a private performance audit done of our agency because frankly I’m convinced that everybody can do things better.”
He also wants to take a deeper look into performance audits within the Medicaid department.
“We want to look at the way Medicaid dollars are spent and find ways that they can be spent better to get better outcomes for less money,” he said. “I still firmly believe that we can cover more people for less money if we did Medicaid reform.”
One of the biggest challenges he believes the state is facing — other than opiate abuse — has to do with the workforce.
“As I’ve traveled around the state, one of the things I constantly see is we’ve got jobs, we just don’t have workers that are trained or qualified to take the job,” he said.
He emphasized the importance of skilled trades.
“Your plumber or your welder is going to make more than your entry level lawyer, and it’s a lot easier to get into those other fields, and so we need to make sure we emphasize that to young people,” he said.
Faber said he’s in the Mansfield area quite often. He visited downtown Mansfield Aug. 6 and spoke at the local Republican luncheon.
“This is very similar to an area (Lima) that I represented for 10 years,” he said.
One of Mansfield’s strengths, he said, is quality of life.
“You’ve got the same challenges that most small cities have … Trying to get young people to think to come back to Mansfield is not the first thing they want to do unless they’ve got a strong family business or someplace to come. But I can tell you having been a young person and went by choice to a small city, the quality of life is really good and you can put your thumbprints on just about anything, and so I would encourage people to do that.”
He also praised Ohio State University and North Central State College for their participation in the Senate 5% Challenge. As Senate president, Faber issued a challenge to public universities in Ohio to reduce the overall cost of a degree by five percent. By allowing universities to come up with plans that made sense to their institutions, the challenge resulted in an overall average reduction of 11.7 percent.
“The upside of that program was last year, Ohio State was rated by the Chronicle of Higher Education as the lowest rate of growth increase in cost tier one institution in the country,” he said.
“I’m proud to have had a part in that. And that’s the kind of innovation we want to bring to the auditor’s office.”
Faber lives in Celina with his wife, Andrea, and their two children, Adam and Brooke. He is a small business owner, operating his own law firm, Faber & Associates.
He will face Democratic candidate Zack Space, former U.S. Rep. for Ohio’s 18th congressional district, in the general election this fall.