The Ohio House of Representatives Minority Leadership Team. The minority caucus is comprised of the party with the fewest members represented. Each session, members of the minority caucus select a slate of leaders, headed by the minority leader.
Minority Leader – Representative Emilia Strong Sykes – District 34
Born and raised in Akron, State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes was elected to represent her hometown (OH-34) in November 2014. With a strong sense of responsibility for the well-being of those that she serves, Sykes has tackled the challenges of her district with unmatched passion and dedication. Sykes also serves in House Democratic leadership as the minority whip, a position to which she was elected by her colleagues.
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. Rep. Sykes understands the importance of a quality education and job training for people to get ahead. 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. Sykes’ work on domestic violence issues has earned bipartisan praise and resulted in her legislation to protect people in dating relationships, House Bill 1, becoming law.
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. At Community Legal Services in Akron, Sykes offered access to quality health and legal services to people in need. She also served as Law Clerk to the Chief Judge of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Georgia.
Sykes 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.
As a student Sykes began her studies on women’s access to healthcare and investigated major issues at crisis pregnancy centers here in Ohio. In law school, she volunteered with the Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Clinic to educate women and girls about domestic violence and how to form positive relationships. From these experiences, Rep. Sykes continues to place issues affecting girls and woman at the forefront of her policy agenda.
Contact Representative Emilia Strong Sykes:
77 S. High St
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone (614) 466-3100
Fax (614) 719-6944
Email Representative Sykes
77 S. High St
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone (614) 466-1896
Fax (614) 719-6964
Email Representative Boggs
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. 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.
Following graduation, Rep. Hudson and her family returned to Wilberforce, Ohio, where she taught readiness skills to underprepared students in the Upward Bound Program at Central State University. It was through this experience that Paula saw the challenges that young people faced with the legal system. As a result, Rep. Hudson returned to law school with a focus on juvenile justice issues.
After graduating with her Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa, Rep. Hudson moved with her family to Toledo in 1982. As a Reginald Heber Smith Fellow, she began her career at Toledo Legal Aid Society representing senior citizens and working with several community groups.
Rep. 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 worked as assistant Lucas County prosecutor, assistant public defender and assistant state attorney general. From 1998-2002, she served as the legislative director of the Toledo City Council. Following that, she served as the 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.
From negotiating labor contracts for Ohio Shared Services Center and teaching domestic relations law, to conducting voter education activities for Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Hudson has advocated for a diverse range of issues in a holistic and sensible way.
Of particular note are her numerous programs and efforts geared toward youth well-being and educational issues. As a Court Appointed Child Advocate-Guardian ad Litem, Rep. Hudson is trained in mediation and advocates for neglected and underrepresented youth. As a result of her efforts, she has been honored by the Urban Minority Alcohol and Drug Outreach Program. She also continues her partnership with the Coalition and Quality Education and Covenant Youth Development Corporation to increase opportunities for young people. As a professor of juvenile justice, Rep. Hudson has informed upcoming professionals of the importance of intervention and prevention programs and actions for development of productive citizenship for our future society.
In 2011, while working for her own private law practice and teaching criminal justice at the University of Toledo’s College of Law, Paula was selected by the Lucas County Democratic Party to fill the vacancy on the Toledo City Council District 4 seat.
From 2011 to 2015, Rep. Hudson served on Toledo City Council, serving as President of Council from 2013 until she became Mayor of Toledo.
Rep. Hudson’s commitment to community empowerment and revitalization has also led her to serve on the following boards and organizations: the NAACP, the YWCA, the Frederick Douglass Community Center, Toledo Youth Hostel, the African American Law Enforcement Agents, Lucas County Land Reutilization Corporation, and the state and national Federations of Business and Professional Women, Inc. She is also the past president of the Thurgood Marshall law Association and the Toledo Women’s Bar Association.
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.
Contact Representative Paula Hicks-Hudson:
77 S. High St
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone (614) 466-1401
Fax (614) 719-6948
Email Representative Hicks-Hudson
In addition to his extensive background in public service and the legal arena, Brown is also a member of the American Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, Columbus Bar Association, Defense Research Institute and Columbus Claims Association, and he was selected as “Best Lawyer” by Columbus CEO Magazine from 2010-2017.
Brown has lived in Canal Winchester for over twenty years, where he and his wife raised their three children. He is heavily involved in the local community, including serving as President of the Canal Winchester Diamond Club, overseeing fundraising efforts for the high school baseball program and being a youth baseball coach.
Contact Representative Richard Brown:
77 S. High Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone (614) 644-6002
Fax (614) 719-6959
Email Representative Brown
Ohio Democratic House Caucus – 614.280.1835