LIMA — Even with the upcoming election less than a month away, attention continues to turn to next year’s statewide races. On Tuesday, two state office candidates brought their visions to the Allen County Democratic Party fall dinner.
Ohio auditor candidate Zack Space and treasurer candidate Rob Richardson were the keynote speakers at Tuesday’s dinner, outlining the priorities they would bring to those offices. Currently, Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo and state Rep. Robert Sprague, R-Findlay, are running for treasurer as Republicans, while Ohio Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina, is running for auditor.
Richardson is a labor attorney who served nine years as a board member for the University of Cincinnati, culminating in serving as the youngest president in board history. Coming from that background, addressing issues in postsecondary education is a key priority in his campaign.
“The state of Ohio is No. 1 for student debt in the nation and nearly 50th when it comes to affordability in higher education,” he said. “I want to look to lower the cost of student loans. I’d also like to push our legislature to see what things we can do to make college and trades more affordable.”
Richardson also sees an avenue for action in regards to the opioid crisis within the Treasurer’s Office.
“I want to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable,” he said. “There’s been an overprescription of opioids and they’ve made a ton of money off it. I want to work with the Attorney General and legislators to see how much we’re paying, particularly in our state pension, health and welfare funds, and figure out if we can recover funds from these drug companies.”
This dinner marked Space’s second prominent visit to Allen County, and over a month after his first visit, he said his message of addressing political gerrymandering and auditing state programs like allocations to charter schools, is resonating among voters.
“It’s not a partisan message,” he said. “This is just about being a good Ohioan, someone who believes that the power of government should lie in the people, not in the wealthy and not in the hands of self-interested politicians. This transcends ideology.”
Space said that a major emphasis in his campaign has been listening to voters.
“We try to not just meet with members of the party or the typical crowd, but move around the county,” he said. “We’re learning about the needs and challenges in Allen County.”