State Rep. Robert McColley, R-Napoleon, has been recommended to fill the Ohio 1st Senate District seat left vacant by the resignation of Cliff Hite in October.

The recommendation by a seven-member Senate screening committee was announced Tuesday evening by Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina.

Obhof said the Senate Republican caucus, which is responsible for appointing a temporary replacement to the seat, will meet soon to accept the recommendation, with the goal of seating the new Senate member by early December.

Once appointed, McColley will serve out the remaining 13 months of Hite’s unexpired term.

Hite, of Findlay, resigned after a sexual harassment complaint was filed against him by a state worker.

McColley, 33, is serving his second term in the Ohio House of Representatives, representing the 81st House District, which includes Putnam, Henry and Williams counties, and part of Fulton County. He also serves in the House leadership as the assistant majority whip for the 132nd Ohio General Assembly.

Prior to being elected to the House, McColley led regional economic development efforts as part of the Community Improvement Corp. of Henry County and worked to improve workforce development efforts between local manufacturers and schools.

He has also served in leadership positions for the Henry County Community Foundation, the Henry County Board of Developmental Disabilities, the Center for Child and Family Advocacy, and the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial.

A graduate of Napoleon High School, McColley holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ohio State University and a law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law. He resides in Napoleon with his wife, Denise, and their three children.

“We believe Rob has the character and experience needed to represent the people of northwestern Ohio. … Rob is a committed and energetic leader on issues important to his constituents, and we look forward to working with him as he helps move Ohio forward,” Obhof said.

The 1st Senate District includes all of Henry, Putnam, Williams, Defiance, Paulding, Hancock, Van Wert and Hardin counties; the southeastern corner of Fulton County; and northern sections of Auglaize and Logan counties.

It will now be up to the House Republican caucus to make an appointment to fill McColley’s unexpired term, which also has about 13 months remaining.

There were six applicants for the open Senate seat, including: Craig Kupferberg, former Findlay High School principal; Frank Miller Jr., a retired Ottawa businessman; state Rep. Craig Reidel, R-Defiance; Roy W. Klopfenstein, a Paulding County commissioner; and State Highway Patrol officer Jeff Smalley of Bellefontaine.

Obhof called them a “talented group of candidates.”

“We appreciate their interest in serving the people of the 1st District,” he said.

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