Ohio voters face some tough decisions when they go to the polls next month in several statewide races. The race for treasurer isn't one of them.
Richard Cordray of Grove City is clearly more qualified for this post than his opponent, Sandra O'Brien of Ashtabula.
Cordray, 47, is a graduate of Michigan State, with a master's degree in economics from Oxford University and a law degree from the University of Chicago His academic credentials are an indication of his intellectual prowess; his record as a five-time champion on the television show "Jeopardy" in 1987 proves he can think on his feet. But it is Cordray's record as treasurer of Franklin County that speaks volumes.
Cordray, a Democrat, has been a member of the Ohio House of Representatives and was solicitor of state, an unelected position, in the early 1990s. He's been a lawyer with one of the state's most prestigious law firms and has been an adjunct professor of law at Ohio State University. He's also run unsuccessfully for statewide office, for attorney general in 1998, which was a tough year for Democratic candidates in Ohio.
He has distinguished himself in four years as treasurer of Franklin County, where he has overseen collection and distribution of about 1.5 billion a year for Columbus and its suburbs.
One of the first things he did was set about collecting 52 million in delinquent taxes because, as he says, "if we don't go after deadbeats, other people pay." School districts and other entities throughout the county found it easier to balance their budget with the money Cordray brought in. He also broke a 59-year record the county had for not seeking competitive bids from banks the county dealt with.
His efforts resulted in his being named American City & amp; County magazine's County Leader of the Year.
O'Brien, 55, a Republican, is a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a master's degree from Edinboro University. She was a teacher for 12 years before being elected Ashtabula County auditor in 1995.
She claims to have rooted out fraud and corruption, earning a reputation as a watchdog. During her tenure, however, there have been findings by the state auditor against her office, once for an accidental overpayment in her own salary and once for purchase of a vehicle without following procedures.
She describes herself as the state's "only pro-life candidate for treasurer," a claim that, even if true, would have nothing to do with the office she is seeking.
It is the treasurer's job to oversee an office of more than 100 employees overseeing billions in tax dollars.
Cordray is the most qualified candidate in this race to fill the job, and he gets The Vindicator's endorsement.