Our Officers

Representative Stephanie Howse – House District 11


HowseBorn and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, State Representative Stephanie Howse has lived most of her life in the Ward 7 community. Representative Howse earned her undergraduate degree in Civil Environmental Engineering from Florida A&M University and her Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Cleveland State University.

Representative Howse’s desire to be a public servant was inspired by her mother Annie L. Key, a former State Representative. In addition to Howse’s experience as an engineer, her career experiences include being selected as a Fellow – Cleveland Executive Fellowship a program of the Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland Field Director – Ohio Democratic Party, Substitute Teacher – Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Consultant – Notable Interactions. She recently served as the Admissions and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Entrepreneurship Preparatory School (E Prep) and Village Preparatory School (Village Prep). A list of accomplishments and affiliations for Rep. Howse include, Executive Committee Member of the Cleveland Branch NAACP, Member of Friends of Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center, Member of the US Green Building Coalition, Member of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland Young Professionals, Member of the Northeast Ohio Chapter Young Black Democrats, Elected Delegate, Democratic National Convention for President Barack Obama, and
Selected Team Member Rotary District 6630 Group Study Exchange Team to India.

Howse currently serves as the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus’s President and is a co-founder of the Ohio House Black Maternal Health Caucus.
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Representative Thomas West – House District 49

1st Vice President

WestIn 2016, Thomas West became the first African American from Stark County to be elected as a state legislator. Having served on Canton City Council for over ten years, West plans to use his public service experience to give a voice to the needs and problems of common, everyday people and local community-based organizations. He  has served as the Sergeant at Arms for the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, as well as the co-chair for the Caucus’s 50th Anniversary Celebration which took place in October 2017 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Historic Clearview Golf Course.

West is a small business owner and a licensed social worker, having earned a Bachelors and Masters of Social Work from the University of Akron after earning a degree in Business Administration from Mount Union College. West and his wife have two children and reside in Canton. 
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Representative Catherine Ingram – House District 32

2nd Vice President

Representative Catherine Ingram, was elected to her first term in the Ohio General Assembly in 2016. As a public servant, university instructor, realtor, neighborhood leader, mom and grandmother, Catherine Ingram knows how much the decisions made in Columbus personally impact all of us.

Catherine Ingram has been a member of the Cincinnati Board of Education for over 20 years, serving as president and vice president in the mid-’90s. Ms. Ingram has served on numerous board committees and, for many years, in a leadership role as Finance Committee chair. In 2000, she earned the prestigious honor of being just one of five board members in the state to be named to OSBA’s All-Ohio School Board. At the state and national levels, she served on OSBA’s Board of Trustees and Executive Committee and the Federal Relations Network.

Ingram serves on boards of the United Way/Community Chest; Leadership Cincinnati XX; Great Rivers Girl Scout Council; Greater Cincinnati Black Achiever Award program; Mayerson Human Resource Academy; and Cincinnati Recreation Commission. Recognized as a leader in the community, Ms. Ingram has multiple accolades including being honored with the Delta Sigma Theta Achieving Women Award and recognized in the 2003-04 edition of Who’s Who in Black Cincinnati.
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Representative Tavia Galonski – House District 35


From the creation of new, better-paying jobs to fully funding our schools and protecting our children, state Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) is focused on using her legal expertise and work experience to address the biggest challenges facing the state and improve the quality of life for residents of the 35th House district. Galonski, previously a magistrate in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, has served the state in a legal capacity for over 15 years. Formerly a magistrate of the county’s domestic relations court, she most recently served as magistrate of the county’s juvenile court before being appointed as a state representative in May 2017.

Galonski is also a member of Leadership Akron, The University of Akron School of Law Alumni Association, the Barristers and the Ohio State Bar Association. She was appointed to serve as the juvenile court representative for the Summit County Fatherhood Initiative, which earned her the 2014 Ohio Fatherhood Center Achievement Award. Galonski received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Emory University in Atlanta. After attending the University of Nottingham in the U.K., she completed her Juris Doctorate at the University Akron School of Law.
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Representative Janine Boyd – House District 9


BoydState Representative Janine Boyd, a lifelong resident of Ohio’s 9th House District, ran for office to help shift the tide back to policies that invest in working families by providing good jobs and high-quality services, especially for those who need them most.

Boyd was elected treasurer of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, a role in which she will serve for the duration of the 132nd General Assembly. Aside from her role in shaping public policy, Boyd sits on the board of the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund – Ohio’s sole, dedicated public funding source for child abuse and neglect prevention – and is a trustee on the Board for the Heights Emergency Food Center. With over 15 years of experience in health and human services advocacy and policy, Boyd has been actively involved in the state budget process on behalf of programs that serve our most vulnerable citizens – children and families facing poverty; seniors; children with special needs and mental health disorders; adults with developmental disabilities; victims of human trafficking; at-risk youth; and veterans.

Boyd is a former Cleveland Heights council member, in addition to having served as an active as a member on the Joint Legislative Committee on Multi-System Youth, ensuring that young people have access to mental health, developmental disability, and welfare service. She follows the longtime public service example set by her mother, Barbara Boyd. Janine believes it is her responsibility to continue her mother’s legacy while paving her own path toward making a positive change in the lives of our citizens. Rep. Boyd is a co-founder of the Ohio House Black Maternal Health Caucus
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Representative Phil Robinson – House District 6


For State Rep. Phil Robinson, the values of family, hard work and community service were instilled at a young age. His parents worked overtime and nights, sacrificing to give him and his sister a chance at a quality education and a better way of life. As the state representative for Ohio’s 6th District, Phil Robinson still lives by these values, fighting for working families and students in the communities he represents.

Robinson earned his undergraduate degree from George Washington University. He later received his Executive Master of Business Administration from the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management.

After receiving his undergraduate degree, Robinson served as a congressional aide for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). He later moved back to Northeast Ohio, where he worked as a marketing consultant for both small businesses and Fortune 500 companies. Robinson eventually joined City Year Cleveland as its executive director. Under his leadership, City Year doubled its revenue and grew its operations by more than 20 percent. As a result, one Cleveland-area high school saw its graduation rate jump from 39 to 73 percent in just five years. He serves as the organization’s senior vice president for regional and site operations and is responsible for over 700 employees and a $158 million budget.

For his continued work advocating for students and improving education opportunities, Crain’s Cleveland Business awarded Robinson as one of its 2015 Forty Under 40 and featured him in its 2014 “Who’s Who in Education.” He was also named in the Top 25 Under 35 Movers and Shakers by Inside Business Magazine. Rep. Robinson currently serves on the boards of the Gilmour Academy, United Black Fund Foundation, and Teach for America – Greater Cleveland and was inducted into the George Washington University Hall of Fame in 2001.
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Representative Erica Crawley – House District 26


State Rep. Erica Crawley (D-Columbus) is a mother, advocate, and veteran. She currently represents Ohio’s 26th House District, which includes much of eastern and southeastern Columbus.

Originally from Youngstown, Rep. Crawley’s family reflects the diversity, successes, and struggles of families in Ohio. She is a first-generation college graduate, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology with a focus on juvenile delinquency from Cleveland State University. She also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Walden University.

Rep. Crawley has spent much of her life making a difference by serving others and giving people a voice through her service in the U.S. Navy and in her work advocating on behalf of children and families with the Cuyahoga County Job & Family Services, YMCA Head Start/ Early Head Start Program, Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) and the Black Child Development Institute.

While attending Capital University Law School in pursuit of her dream of becoming an attorney, Rep. Crawley served as a Junior Fellow for the Family and Youth Law Center, 1L Representative and Day-Vice President of the Black Law Students Association, Co-President of the Health & Law Society, American Bar Association Representative (ABA) to the Student Bar Association, ABA Deputy Lt. Governor of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs (VITA) for the law student division and a member of Capital’s ABA National Moot Court Team.

Upon graduating from law school, Erica was awarded the 2017 Graduate of the Year for the Black Law Student’s Association, Capital University Law School Dean’s Ambassador Award and Order of the Barristers.

Erica is the mother of twin girls. She enjoys spending time with them and traveling with family and friends. She collects books and is an avid reader. She also volunteers her time with many community organizations.
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Representative Emilia Sykes – House District 34

Ohio House Minority Leader

Born and raised in Akron, State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes was elected to represent her hometown (OH-34) in November 2014. Four years later, Sykes was elected by her colleagues to serve in leadership as the Minority Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives.

As a representative, Sykes has pushed an aggressive job creation plan, fighting to keep local jobs for local workers and expand opportunities for middle and working-class families in Akron. She has supported young leadership and mentoring programs to inspire young people to reach their goals.

Rep. Sykes has also worked with healthcare professionals and colleagues to improve public health, increase access to care, and combat Ohio’s high infant mortality rate. Her passion for social justice extends to issues such as voter rights, criminal justice reform, a more efficient social safety net for struggling Ohioans, and an end to domestic violence. In the 132nd General Assembly, she has pushed a bipartisan proposal to establish teen dating violence awareness with hopes of stopping abuse before it starts. House Bill 94 was unanimously passed.

Sykes previously served as Administrative Staff Adviser at the Summit County Fiscal Office, where she worked to establish a county land bank to re-purpose vacant and abandoned properties. She attended Kent State University, graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. in Psychology, as well as the University of Florida, where she earned a Juris Doctor with a Certificate in Family Law from the Levin College of Law and a Masters of Public Health from the College of Public Health and Health Professions.
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Representative Paula Hicks-Hudson – House District 44

ohio house Assistant Minority Whip

As the first black female mayor of Toledo, State Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson has always exhibited a commitment to empowering and helping people improve their quality of life. She currently represents Ohio’s 44th House District, which includes central Toledo.

Raised in the city of Hamilton, Ohio, Rep. Hicks-Hudson often cites education as a pathway to success. She graduated from Spelman College, a historically black high education institution for women, with her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Journalism. Rep. Hudson then went on to graduate with her Master’s Degree in Communications Development from Colorado State University.

While teaching readiness skills to underprepared students in the Upward Bound Program at Central State University, Paula saw the challenges that young people faced with the legal system leading Rep. Hicks-Hudson to return to law school with a focus on juvenile justice issues.

After graduating with her Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa, Rep. Hicks-Hudson moved with her family to Toledo in 1982.

Rep. Hicks-Hudson’s purpose has centered on improving the quality of her community through her hard work in the public and private sector. During her 35-year professional career, she has held many notable positions such as assistant Lucas County prosecutor, assistant public defender, assistant state attorney general, Toledo City Council , in addition to director and deputy director of the Lucas County Board of Elections and chief legal counsel to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management under Governor Ted Strickland.

Outside of her dedicated, successful professional career, she enjoys many rich connections and activities with family and friends. She has been married to Freeman W. Hudson since 1973 and is the proud mother of two adult daughters, Patricia Hope and Leah Free Star, and grandmother of seven grandchildren. An accomplished musician, Hudson serves as the minister of music at Redeemer Lutheran Church.
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Senator Cecil Thomas – Senate District 9

ohio Senate Assistant Minority Leader

AshfordSenator Cecil Thomas was elected in November 2014 to serve Ohio’s 9th Senate district, which includes parts of Cincinnati, St. Bernard, Elmwood Place, Norwood, Golf Manor, Hollydale, Columbia Township, Silverton and Springfield Township. Senator Thomas is a product of a working-class family, born in rural Alabama in 1952. Prior to joining the state legislature, Senator Thomas graduated from the University of Cincinnati; he joined the Cincinnati Police Department where he spent twenty-seven years working throughout all 52 neighborhoods. In addition, Senator Thomas has served in the role of Executive Directorship of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, as well as President Pro Temp and Chairman of the Law and Public Safety Committee while being a member of Cincinnati City Council. Senator Thomas currently serves as the Ranking Member of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee and State and Local Committee for the 131st General Assembly.  In addition to his leadership roles, Senator Thomas will also serve on the following committees: Education, Civil Justice, Insurance, Financial Institutions, Finance Subcommittee on Education (K-12) and Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education.

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Senator Sandra Williams – Senate District 21

ohio senate Assistant Minority whip


State Senator Sandra Williams, who represents Ohio’s 21st Senate District, is currently serving her second term in the Ohio Senate. She is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, where she attended Cleveland Public Schools. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cleveland State University in Political Science with a minor in Criminal Justice, a Master’s in Criminal Justice Administration from Tiffin University, and an Executive Master’s in Business Administration from Cleveland State University.

Senator Williams has spent more than two decades in public service as a corrections officer, probation and parole officer, mediator for the State of Ohio, legislative aide, and State Representative.  She also served our country as a member of the United States Army Reserve and was honorably discharged in 1995. In the 132nd General Assembly, Senator Williams serves as a ranking member on the Public Utilities and Ways and Means Committees as well as Vice Chair on the Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education.  She also serves on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee, Corrections Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC), Joint Education Oversight Committee (JEOC), Governor’s Executive Workforce Board, Power Sitting Board, and Tuition Trust Authority Investment Board. During her time in the General Assembly, she has made strong efforts to improve access to economic development opportunities, such as improving contracting for women and minority contractors.  She has also worked to expand job training opportunities for Ohioans entering the workforce or transitioning into new fields. Senator Williams is a past president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.

Senator Williams has an outstanding record of community service and is a true statesman. She is a member of the Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus, NAACP, Black Women’s Political Action Committee, and the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World.

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