Voters Guide: Sprague vs. Schertzer in Ohio Treasurer of State race

All candidates for local and state office were sent the same series of questions by the Dayton Daily News. Our goal was to help voters make informed choices in the Nov. 8 election (early voting for which begins Oct. 12).

The race for Ohio Treasurer of State is between Republican incumbent Robert Sprague and Democratic challenger Scott Schertzer. The candidates’ answers are below, in their own words. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Scott Schertzer

Residence: Marion

Organizations, boards, previous elected positions: Mayor of Marion, 2008-Present, Marion City Councilman, 1999-2007

Education: Bachelor of Education, University of Toledo

Current employment: Mayor of Marion

Why are you seeking elected office: To continue my career in public service by protecting the taxpayer’s money and making sure Ohio’s five public pension funds are fiscally sound. To bring a middle class work ethic to help everyday citizens solve problems.

Why should voters elect you: I will bring true accountability to the office! Ohio deserves a truly independent Treasurer who puts protecting the interests of the taxpayers ahead of campaign contributors and politics. I am considering appointing myself to one of the pension boards to ensure credibility and transparency.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities?

1. Use the tools of the office to fight corruption in state government.

2. Demand transparency for Ohio’s Public Pensions.

3. Make all state government finances transparent to the public from the Governor’s office to the smallest boards and commissions.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities?

1. Use the tools of the office to hold all state entities accountable for their expenditures including using artificial intelligence to review transaction data and referring anomalies to the State Auditor.

2. Require that full contracts and prospectuses of all public pension fund investments are publicly available through my office.

3. Make public records easily accessible using modern technology.

Anything else you would like voters to know? I will work everyday to improve the ethics and efficiencies of state government.

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Robert Sprague

Residence: Findlay

Organizations, boards, previous elected positions: Ohio House of Representatives; City of Findlay Auditor; City of Findlay Treasurer

Education: B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University; Master in Business Administration (MBA) from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Current employment: Current Treasurer of State

Why are you seeking elected office: I want to use the power of finance to help Ohio families and their local communities.

I’m seeking a second term as Ohio’s Treasurer because we’ve seen many successes in the last four years, and I know there is so much more that can be done. In the Treasurer’s office, I have the opportunity, each day, to put my finance, local government, and legislative backgrounds to work for the people of Ohio.

While I enjoyed my work in the private sector as a project lead at Ernst & Young and advising businesses as a consultant, I’ve always had a heart for public service. Whether it’s balancing budgets and helping to lead flood recovery efforts in my hometown of Findlay, or working on the state budget and other financial issues as a state representative, I understand the power of finance as a tool to solve some of our communities’ most pressing challenges.

I’ve made it our staff’s mission to be trusted stewards of Ohioans’ tax dollars, wise investors in our state’s future, and bold innovators for the people of Ohio. Over the past four years, our team has modernized long-standing programs to make them more useful in today’s world, while also fostering new and innovative initiatives that are making a real difference in the lives of Ohioans. I humbly ask for the opportunity to continue what we’ve started.

Why should voters elect you: Since 2019, we’ve been using the power of finance to help Ohio families and their local communities. We have been creative and nimble in the face of unprecedented challenges. When COVID-19 changed the world as we knew it, our team jumped into action and quickly found a way to help Ohio’s hospitals save money so they could focus on what they do best – saving the lives of Ohio families.

Our work to modernize the long-standing Ag-LINK program is having a profound impact on Ohio’s family farms and local agribusinesses, who are the backbone of Ohio’s economy. At a time when they’re facing skyrocketing costs due to inflation, Ag-LINK has helped Ohio’s farming community save millions since January alone. It’s already been a record breaking year for the revamped program - and it’s still open for business.

We’ve also created an avenue for new, innovative solutions that help Ohio families, all while protecting taxpayer dollars. Through a new financial tool called ResultsOHIO, underserved students in Appalachian Ohio are now receiving vision services and new glasses through a mobile clinic.

By refocusing the office’s efforts around the power of finance, we’re strengthening Ohio’s communities for the years ahead.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities?

If given the opportunity to serve a second term as Ohio Treasurer, I want to continue and build on the good work we’ve done over the past four years.

1) Listening to Ohioans and finding ways to help them fight back on 40-year high inflation. Over the last year, I’ve met with small business owners, local leaders, farmers, and others to hear about how inflation and economic uncertainty is impacting their daily lives. While the inflation crisis is the outcome of bad policies out of Washington, the Treasurer’s office is working hard to find new ways to punch back and provide relief to hard-working Ohioans.

2) Supporting Ohio’s local governments. Local governments will be investing in infrastructure: roads, water, broadband, and power. We as a state are only as strong as our communities, and I am committed to helping local governments with the tools to meet their unique needs. What works for our urban cores doesn’t necessarily fit for rural communities – and vice versa. I understand those nuances, and I will ensure local governments of all sizes find support through the Treasurer’s office.

3) Good stewardship. We’ve made huge investments behind the scenes in the technology, talent, and streamlined processes in the Treasury. We have assembled a great team. I’m extraordinarily proud of the professionalism of the office, and the improvements we’ve made to improve the core processes of the Treasury.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? We’ll keep a close eye on market conditions and trends and seek out new, innovative ways to unlock the power of the Ohio Treasury, either to fight inflation or to help communities deal with rising interest rates. Ohio needs to invest in our infrastructure both at a local and state level, and we will be looking at how to unlock the Ohio Treasury for the benefit of local governments.

Central to that will be listening to Ohioans. Like we recently did with Ag-LINK, we traveled the state and gathered ideas on how best to fight back against the federal inflation problem. By hearing straight from business owners, local officials, community leaders, and hard-working Ohioans, we’re developing policy proposals that meet real world needs with real impact.

Finally we will continue to modernize Treasury operations so that we can keep up with the rapid changes in banking and further streamline our operations.

Anything else you would like voters to know? Thank you for the opportunity to serve as Ohio Treasurer these past 4 years. We have been focused on being good stewards of taxpayer dollars, bold innovators for the people of Ohio, and wise investors in the future of Ohio. We’ve stayed true to our roots, kept our focus on smart finance and turned the office into a cutting-edge financial powerhouse in service to Ohioans.

Our state’s financial foundation is strong and our future is bright, but these next few years are pivotal in ensuring we realize sustainable growth and generational prosperity. With your support, together, we will continue to maximize what the Treasurer’s office is capable of achieving for Ohioans.