GIBSONBURG - Area Republicans honored the 16th U.S. president by speaking about the party's values Thursday night at the Sandusky, Seneca and Ottawa Lincoln Day Dinner.
During his nearly 20-minute talk, State Auditor Dave Yost explained what he and his office staff have been working on.
"What we're talking about tonight is skinny government," Yost said before the ceremony. "Everybody is having this debate down in Washington about cut, cut, cut. There's a lot of different ways you can cut, but what our office does is we'll come in and help the local governments cut smart. We're using private sector tools to figure out how to make government skinnier faster, smarter, cheaper. So far our performance audits average $24 in savings for every dollar you spend on the audit."
Yost said Ohio is the top state in the Midwest in job creation and No. 4 in the country.
"Ohio, ladies and gentlemen, is on its way back," he said.
Since January 2011, Yost's office has found $24 million in savings, he said. The state auditor also now has the authority to audit state government agencies, such as the Ohio Department of Transportation.
"There's 5,700 (governmental) entities out there, sucking up your tax dollars, and my job is to audit the financial statements of all 5,700," he said.
"I sure would like to see that number drop one of these days. We've got more government in Ohio, than most other states in our region."
Yost's office also has been performing school attendance audits, and he said schools have been not including students with low attendance in the test grades.
"We are not going to let adults cheat these kids out of their future," he said.
He said Republicans should work toward recruiting younger people.
"We are going to win again because our ideas are right," Yost said. "We have to believe in them ourselves. We can have the courage to believe in what we stand for because it's the truth it's been proven true."
Karen Gillmor, of the Ohio Industrial Commission, spoke about what it means to be a real Republican.
"I know people in rural Ohio know what it means because it's what they've lived all their lives," she said. "I know you care, as I do, about God, your family, your community and your country."
She said having strong values has helped make Northwest Ohio stronger than other parts of the state.
"I can tell you from experience, it takes two parents to raise children well in this environment," Gillmor said.
State Sen. Dave Burke spoke about the difficult decisions facing state Republicans, such as the Affordable Health Act.
"I don't often agree with the cards I get, but I have to do something with them," Burke said, comparing decision-making in government to a hand of poker. "I could fold or I could continue the hand and try to improve it."
Burke said he never would compromise his beliefs and values, but he is willing to compromise on issues that move things forward.
"I will guarantee you what we do will move this Republican Party forward," he said. "If we must, we will Republican-ize everything we deal with."
State Sen. Randy Gardner, who represents District 2 (Erie, Wood and Ottawa counties), also spoke briefly at the ceremony and said how great it was to get Republican leadership together in one room.
"It is very important to continue to fight even when there is not an election a month or two later," Gardner said.
Chairman of the Seneca County Republican Party David Koehl presented the county's Republican of the Year award to Tiffin City Councilman Jim Roberts.
Seneca County Auditor Julie Adkins was the master of ceremonies for the dinner, which Koehl said about 130 people attended.
Several Seneca County and Tiffin office-holders were in attendance, including two commissioners, four council members and Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz.