Faber is heading into the election with ideas for legislation, he said — specifically to improve access to healthcare and food
Red haired white man

This story originally appeared in the Buckeye Flame and the Athens County Independent

Athens County resident Ari Faber is the sole Democrat on the March 19 primary ballot for Ohio Senate District 30, comprising Athens, Belmont, Harrison, Jefferson, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble and Washington counties. 

The district is currently represented by Brian Chavez (R-Marietta), who faces Republican challenger Frank Rogers in their primary. 

Faber, outreach director for United Campus Ministry in Athens, described himself in an email as a “queer, progressive … Appalachian.”  

He entered the nonprofit field “to address systemic issues,” only to find nonprofit work to be “slapping (a) Band-Aid on,” he told the Independent in an interview.

“The only way to actually change the systemic issues is to change its policy,” Faber said.

Faber believes the cost of living is the biggest issue facing the people in the district. 

“My focus is on food insecurity, housing insecurity, health, with some of the biggest expenses increasing,” Faber said. “It’s also something that in my — both in my personal life, and professionally, I work a lot on combating those things. And also just have some lived experience of all of that growing up.”

Through his work at UCM, Faber prepares weekly free meals — Wednesday lunch and Thursday supper — that serve anywhere from 50 to 90 people per meal. He also has helped individuals in need navigate applying for housing assistance, SNAP and Medicaid. 

“I want constituency services to be the thing I’m known for: … that I’m responsive to things constituents say to me, that I’m able to help open doors for them, where previously the doors had always been slammed,” Faber said. 

Faber is heading into the election with ideas for legislation, he said — specifically to improve access to healthcare and food.

“Ohio has a very aging population. If we want to keep the young people, we have to make it economically viable for them,” Faber said. “And also stop passing legislation like HB 68.… It’s gonna push more of all young people away.”

Faber, who is trans, has been outspoken about Ohio’s recent restrictions on transgender rights.

“Gender-affirming care literally saved my life and I am devastated for the children, teens, and young adults who will no longer have access to this care,” Faber previously told the Independent. “I am heartbroken for them and hate to think of anyone feeling the way I did for so many years. These kids and their families deserve better.