Update: Patel out of race, Democratic candidate unopposed for Ohio Treasurer urges study on private prisons

By Ashley Bunton - abunton@aimmediamidwest.com

Update: This story was corrected to reflect that Richardson is now running unopposed as the Democratic candidate for Ohio Treasurer after it was announced this week that Democratic candidate Neil Patel did not qualify for the ballot due to a lack of sufficient signatures, according to the Ohio Democratic Party.

Cincinnati attorney Rob Richardson is in the running for Ohio Treasurer and is asking the current Ohio Treasurer to study the fiscal and economic impact of Ohio’s prison system.

Richardson, a Democrat, wrote a letter to current Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel this week because he said he is concerned about the for-profit, private prisons in Ohio and called the issue “one of the most devastating trends over the last decade in Ohio.”

“With the rise of for-profit, private prisons, Ohio now has one of the highest levels of mass incarceration in the country, tearing families apart and costing taxpayers $1 billion every year,” wrote Richardson. “Taxpayers have a right to know how much of their tax dollars are being used to line the pockets of private prisons. This money could be used to more adequately invest in education equality, affordable healthcare, and better paying jobs. By re-focusing our state’s resources into lifting people up, rather than locking them up, we can keep more families together and grow our state’s economy.”

Richardson is a former chairman of the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees. He graduated from the university with an electrical engineering degree and a JD.

A press release from Richardson’s campaign states Richardson established the UC Scholars Academy for students in Cincinnati Public Schools, where he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for student scholarships. Richardson also founded the 1819 Innovation Hub, where university students have the chance to interact with the private sector, helping to design, test, and improve products and processes for private companies.

It was announced this week that Democratic candidate for Ohio Treasurer Neil Patel, an insurance salesman who has spent the past 14 years working for New York Life, did not qualify for the primary ballot for a lack of collecting enough valid signatures.

There are two Republican Ohio Treasurer candidates running in the 2018 primary election: Sandra O’Brien (R) and Robert Sprague (R).

According to campaign information, O’Brien is the former Ashtabula County Auditor and former teacher.

She studied at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania where she received a master’s degree in school administration. O’Brien’s website campaign issues include open public policy, promoting financial literacy, and maintaining target levels.

“As Treasurer I intend to preserve Ohio’s financial resources through monitoring, management and investing in a prudent manner. I will prioritize sound financial policy in managing the state’s multi-billion dollar portfolios. I will closely monitor and maintain adequate safeguards, ensure money is invested properly, set benchmarks, monitor investment performance, evaluate the performance of investment managers and monitor active depositories and required collateral,” wrote O’Brien on her campaign website.

Sprague is a state representative, business consultant, and former treasurer for the City of Findlay. Sprague graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering and holds a master’s in business administration from the University of North Carolina.

Among Sprague’s campaign plans, it states he is trying to strengthen “our national security” by having the state of Ohio invest in Israel, “our greatest ally on the war on terror.”

Sprague wrote that he wants “to try to help young people with some financial literacy when they are in high school so that they don’t make decisions that lead to a crippling amount of student loan debt.”

By Ashley Bunton


Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton

Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton