GALLIA COUNTY — Former U.S. Congressman of Ohio’s 18th congressional district Zack Space visited Gallia County as part of his “Ohio River Tour to Restore” Tuesday in his quest to be elected as Ohio Auditor.
Space spent a chunk of his morning meeting with area residents at Tudor’s Biscuit World in Gallipolis before visiting with Gallipolis City School District Superintendent Craig Wright at the district’s administrative building and then Gallia County Local Schools Superintendent Jude Meyers at South Gallia School in Mercerville.
“The performance audit element of the job of Auditor of State requires that the auditor undertake performance audits every year to measure the effectiveness of state resources,” said Space. “You have discretion as the auditor for what resources you need to measure and it’s a process. It takes time. You have to prioritize.”
Space said the heroin epidemic was one of his primary concerns as he makes his way along the campaign trail.
“Measuring or assessing the effectiveness of the state’s resources in combating that crisis is a priority,” said Space. “If I’m elected I’m going to ask all the (state’s) constitutional officers…join me in bringing the full powers of our offices to bear in combating this problem.”
Space said, from his perspective, the auditor’s strength was to see where the weaknesses in the state’s fight again heroin may lie and then to offer options to strengthen them.
Among concerns shared by staff in South Gallia, they said schools were meeting more social needs for students than ever. Children battle to focus in class when substance abuse dominates the home life and teachers are on the front lines to witness the effects of poverty, according to Meyers.
Space emphasized his concern over controversial for-profit classrooms and the controversies surrounding them in Ohio. He said he was not questing against charter schools but was cautious of programs like Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT).
“Big chunks of money get pumped into these for-profit management companies that are owned by a single individual whose profiting enormously from these enterprises,” Space said. “They’re underperforming and there is no ability to track where the money goes once it goes into these management companies. The auditor can declare those books unauditable because we can’t see where the money is going and when the books are unauditable, the money stops.”
Space said he felt students in some for-profit schooling programs were falling behind and not graduating at rates as high as their peers.
Space served as a U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 18th congressional district from 2007 to 2011 before being defeated by Bob Gibbs. He currently lives in Columbus and has previously worked as a public defender and special counsel to two previous Ohio Attorneys General.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342.