Candidates for Ohio treasurer visit Lima

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — Ohioans have a choice between two “Robs” this November in the election of the next Ohio Treasurer.

Both candidates — Rob Richardson, D-Cincinnati, and State Rep. Robert Sprague, R-Findlay — visited Lima this past week to talk to voters and establish some of their priorities for the treasurer’s office if elected.

Sprague could be found at the Allen County Fair Wednesday evening hosted by the Allen County Republicans where he visited with voters and learned about local concerns.

“When you go around the state, people are pleased with the wage growth in the state of Ohio and also with the economic growth and all the jobs that are being brought back to the state,” Sprague said.

As a candidate for treasurer, Sprague pointed out the need for financial experience and highlighted his goals of creating fiscal responsibility, pushing for private innovation and improving transparency into how taxpayer’s funds are being used.

“You’re literally in charge of billions of dollars in the investment portfolio and issuing billions of dollars worth of debt,” Sprague said. “My financial background is going to lend itself to this office.”

Sprague is currently the state representative for Ohio House District 83. His experience includes working for the accounting firm Ernst & Young and serving as auditor and treasurer for the City of Findlay. He was appointed to the General Assembly in 2011.

“One of the things that I’m going to do in the treasurer’s office is institute a new financing mechanism to try to get the private sector involved in things like innovation for heroin treatment,” Sprague said. “At then end of the day, the state is only going to pay for the things that work better than what we’re already doing. And through that innovation, we’ll save lives, and we’ll also save the state money.”

Sprague said he also would like to expand upon Ohio’s Online Checkbook.

“I’d like to add to it so you got some analytical tools as a taxpayer, and you can go in and analyze how the state is paying your tax money and compare it against what other states do and other communities do,” he said.

Sprague’s opponent, Rob Richardson, visited the training facility of UA Local 776 during a labor rally featuring Mayor David Berger and Rep. Jim Jordan’s Democratic opponent, Janet Garrett. Richardson called for using the treasurer’s office to hold other government officials accountable for how the state of Ohio spends tax dollars.

“The state of Ohio has been one-party rule 24 out of 28 years. The Republicans have ruled the entire state government and they have pretty simply put the interest of profits over the interest of people,” Richardson said. “They want to take more of your money. They want to take more of your opportunity. They want us to be distracted so we can fight amongst the crumbs while they run away with everything else.”

As an example, Richardson pointed to the scandal surrounding Ohio’s online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, which was found to be inflating its enrollment numbers to bring in more funds. It’s founder, Bill Lager, has been a political donor to state conservatives.

“We’re going to bring back accountability to the state of Ohio because the state of Ohio deserves it,” Richardson said.

Other issues Richardson said he would focus on include ending investment into for-profit prisons and holding employers accountable for sub-contractor clause abuses.

“I know you don’t think of a treasurer as doing things like this,” Richardson said. “Well, you haven’t seen a treasurer like me. You haven’t seen a treasurer that cares about working people the way I’m going to.”

Richardson ran for mayor of Cincinnati in 2017, and he currently works as a labor attorney with law firm Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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