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.
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Representative Hearcel Craig – House District 26

1st Vice President

CraigRepresentative Hearcel Craig brings his strong background of public service to the Statehouse after being first elected to serve constituents of the 26th House District in November 2014. Craig’s commitment to the residents of Columbus began decades ago when he worked as legislative liaison for the Ohio Department of Youth Services. During his tenure at ODYS, Craig drafted legislation and secured legislative sponsorship for bills introduced in the Ohio General Assembly, including H.B. 812, which secured $83 million for much needed capital improvements to ODYS facilities.

Craig’s past serves include being a former Columbus City Councilman, having led the city’s Veterans Affairs Committee to help meet the needs of veterans, service personnel, and their families, former executive director of the Hilltop Civic Council, where he managed a comprehensive social service agency that served 10,000 people annually in one of Columbus’ historic neighborhoods., as well as directing the Hilltop Civic Council’s 35-person staff and administering its $1.2 million annual budget, Craig supervised programs for a comprehensive community health care center, youth and senior services, a resettlement center for new Americans, and a food and clothing pantry. He is a proud veteran of the United States Army.

His experiences have earned him numerous committee appointments in the House, and he has also serves on the Ohio Infant Mortality Commission, the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, and the Criminal Sentencing Commission Subcommittee on Juvenile Justice. Her is currently the 1st Vice President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.
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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.
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Representative Emilia Sykes – House District 34


Emilia SykesBorn and raised in Akron, State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes was elected to represent her hometown (OH-34) in November 2014. Two years later, Sykes was elected by her colleagues to serve in leadership as the Assistant Minority Whip in addition to being selected to serve as the Secretary for the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.

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 mentorship 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 Advisor at the Summit County Fiscal Office, where she worked to establish a county land bank to repurpose vacant and abandoned properties. She attended Kent State University, graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. in Psychology. She later attended 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 Thomas West – House District 49


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 serves 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 will take 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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