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Born in Akron, Ohio, Emilia Sykes grew up on the city’s west side and enjoyed a childhood that was full of competitive gymnastics and ballet, along with the constant support and encouragement of her family and community who she credits for helping to raise her. As a child, Emilia saw first-hand that Northeast Ohio families work hard every day and care deeply about what they do, but too often aren’t given the opportunity or level playing field that many others enjoy. That’s why when she became House Minority Leader she worked with Republicans and Democrats to deliver real results for Ohio’s families, businesses, and seniors.
Emilia’s parents taught her the values of hard work, never to give up, and that public service means standing up for others because it’s the right thing to do, not because it serves your political career. And that means picking fights on behalf of the people against the powerful. They also taught her the importance of a good education. These lessons led Emilia to graduate with high honors from Kent State University with a B.A.in Psychology and later the University of Florida, where she earned a Juris Doctor with a Certificate in Family Law and a Master of Public Health.
Emilia Sykes currently serves as a State Representative in Ohio’s 34th legislative district, otherwise known as the “birthplace of champions,” where she’s served since 2014. She recently finished four years in Democratic leadership, holding the positions of Assistant Whip, Minority Whip and Minority Leader.
As a State Representative, Emilia has worked tirelessly to keep jobs in our state and expand opportunity for working families in Northeast Ohio. She’s fought for tax cuts for middle-class and working families, funding for high-speed internet, and higher wages and safer working conditions for Ohio’s workers. During her first year as leader, despite serving in the minority, the percentage of bipartisan bills passed was nearly double each of the previous two legislative sessions.
In particular, Sykes’ work on domestic violence issues earned bipartisan praise and resulted in her legislation, Ohio HB1, to protect the safety and security of people in violent relationships to become the priority piece of legislation in the 132nd General Assembly.
Unfortunately, too many politicians in Ohio are uninterested in working together and they’re standing in the way of progress and opportunity for Northeast Ohio. We can’t have a representative in Congress who only looks out for wealthy special interests and peddles wild conspiracy theories that are meant to divide us for political gain.
Emilia is running for the United States Congress because Northeast Ohio needs a fighter who isn’t afraid to stand up for them when the powerful and well connected tell her to sit down and embrace the status quo. She’s ready to stand up for our jobs, for affordable healthcare and education, and for bipartisan cooperation to actually get things done. Emilia knows that too often working families feel alone–and they shouldn’t have to leave the state to find success, safety and security. Emilia will bring a fresh perspective to Washington, and fight for opportunity for every child, senior, and family in Northeast Ohio, regardless of their politics or beliefs.
Prior to serving in the state legislature, Sykes worked as Administrative Staff Advisor at the Summit County Fiscal Office, where she helped to create a county land bank to repurpose vacant and abandoned properties, and as a Law Clerk to the Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Georgia.
Rep. Sykes has received numerous awards for her advocacy, including the Legislator of the Year from the Ohio Minority Business Enterprise, the Champion for Children award from Summit Children’s Services, the EMILY’s List Rising Star award, and 30 for the Future award from the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce.
Jobs & Rising Costs
Ohioans are working harder than ever and shouldn’t be struggling to pay for gas, groceries, housing, and other expenses because of rising costs. In order to lower costs and ensure we don’t have another supply chain crisis, Emilia supports a “Made in America” plan to bring manufacturing home to northeast Ohio so we aren’t dependent on foreign countries and create good-paying jobs for Ohio workers. Emilia will also fight to put more money in the pockets of Northeast Ohioans, just as she did in the legislature when she worked to increase Ohio’s Earned income tax credit from 10 to 30 percent of the federal credit.
Healthcare is far too expensive and all northeast Ohioans deserve access to quality, affordable healthcare and prescription drugs that won’t break the bank. In Congress, Emilia will push to cap the cost of life-saving medications such as insulin, make sure there are affordable long-term care options for Ohioans, and continue her work on eliminating systemic biases that lead to health inequities.
Everyone deserves to be safe, and feel safe in their communities. As a State Representative, Emilia led a bipartisan effort to ensure that survivors of domestic abuse could be protected and worked to make it a crime for people to track others without their consent. In Congress, Emilia will continue her fight to ensure law enforcement has the resources they need to protect and serve the communities where they work while ensuring there is accountability and trust within the community through meaningful criminal justice reform efforts.
Protecting Women’s Right to Healthcare
Women should always have the right to make decisions about their healthcare and reproductive freedom. Whether it’s abortion, birth control, or breast cancer screenings, the government has no place telling a woman what to do with her body. As a legislator, Emilia oversaw the passage of legislation eliminating the sales tax on feminine hygiene products, helped create the state’s Black Maternal Health Caucus to ensure healthier moms and babies, and fought to save infant lives through community grants and local interventions. In Congress, Emilia will fight against any attempts to criminalize abortion and contraception or punish women and will stand up for victims of rape, incest, and domestic abuse.
Every child in Northeast Ohio deserves a high-quality education with good teachers and a safe, welcoming environment where they can learn, ask questions, and grow their skills. In Congress, Emilia will continue her fight for our kids’ education, and work to ensure that those who wish to continue their education after high school have affordable options that don’t leave them drowning in student loan debt while they’re building a life here in Ohio.
Emilia knows that access to clean water, clean air, and a clean environment is a basic human right—but that we can fight for those rights while also creating good-paying jobs. In Congress, Emilia will support environmentally friendly policies that support our economy, allow our National parks to thrive, and support native wildlife. By protecting our environment we can maintain a place where our children and families can live a healthy life, enjoy our local natural resources and promote tourism.
Every northeast Ohioan deserves to have their voices heard and votes counted. In Congress, Emilia will fight to make it easier for our citizens to vote by supporting H.R. 1 the For the People Act— and she will hold accountable anyone who attacks the right to a free and fair election, particularly those who advocate violently overthrowing the government, like the attack we saw on the Capitol on January 6th of last year.
We must do everything we can to bring good-paying jobs to Northeast Ohio so folks can raise a family and build a life here. Bad trade deals have hurt our economy and our state and we need to invest in the future of our young people and our workers with increased job training and opportunities to grow. As a legislator, Emilia fought to keep local jobs for local workers and cosponsored the Consumer Protection Call Center Act to fight the offshoring of Ohio call center jobs. In Congress, Emilia will fight to keep jobs from going overseas and bring them back where they belong: Ohio.
Our immigration system is broken and we need a bipartisan, comprehensive solution that stops ignoring the problem. In Congress Emilia will fight to ensure our borders are safe and secure, keeping out dangerous drugs and weapons, while also recognizing decency and humanity is required to those who seek the land of opportunity we call home. She’ll also be a champion for those who come here legally, pay taxes and play by the rules because they deserve the same rights and protections as everyone else.
Too often our Seniors are ignored or taken advantage of and we need to allow them to age with dignity in their own homes on their own terms. As a legislator Emilia supported the successful bipartisan effort to grant nursing home residents the ability to authorize and install electronic monitoring devices in resident rooms to monitor the quality of care received, as well as the effort to provide tax credits for family caregivers and lower property taxes. In Congress, Emilia will fight to hold those who target Seniors for fraud schemes accountable, allow Medicare to negotiate to lower the cost of prescription drugs and use those savings to expand Medicare benefits to cover vision, hearing, and dental services for seniors.