It doesn’t happen often that a Hancock County resident is elected to a statewide executive office. Actually, it may never have happened.

But Robert Cole Sprague, of Findlay, would take the first step May 8 to do just that, if he wins the Republican primary election for state treasurer.

His GOP opponent is Sandra O’Brien, a former teacher and auditor of Ashtabula County who has twice before run for state office, for treasurer (2006) and secretary of state (2010).

Sprague is our choice, not just because he’s local, but because he’s got the expertise to oversee the state’s $13 billion cash portfolio.

He has “grown up” in front of us and has done a good job taking care of business as a conservative representative of Findlay and Hancock County.

His education and political career to date have prepared him well to serve on the state administrative level.

After graduating from Duke and the University of North Carolina, Sprague served as Findlay’s treasurer and auditor, helping balance budgets and finance recovery efforts following both the 2007 flood and the economic crash.

While in office, Findlay’s credit rating improved and its debt service costs were reduced. He also created the city’s first annual financial report to help people better understand finances.

Since 2011, Sprague has represented the 83rd House District, taking an active role on various committees, and helping fellow legislators erase an $8 billion budget deficit, pass a $5 billion tax cut, end Ohio’s death tax, and eliminate burdensome rules and regulations that stymied job creation.

As a state rep, Sprague has been a heavy lifter in the efforts to bring the opioid problem under control. He serves as the chair of the Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education and Safety (HOPES) Committee.

His leadership on drug and on financial matters will be missed in the Legislature.

Winning a district race is different than a statewide one. Outside of the mostly rural 83rd District, “Sprague” isn’t necessarily a household name. But Sprague has campaigned especially hard the past year to establish it as one.

He has attended numerous public and Republican events and has earned many endorsements along the way, including one from the Ohio GOP Central Committee.

It’s still a long road to November, but we encourage voters to support Sprague in the primary. He’s ready for the next step.