Representative Emilia Strong Sykes - House District 34

03.28.18 - Sykes Announces 2018 Year Of The Trails Walk At Historic Towpath Trail In Akron


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) is inviting constituents of the 34th House District to Akron’s Towpath Trail for a nature walk celebrating the state’s 2018 Year of the Trails campaign. The walk will take place on Saturday, April 7 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. starting at the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, located at 47 W. Exchange St. in Akron. 


03.15.18 - House Dems Protest Controversial Proposed Healthcare Restrictions


Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today sent a letter to Ohio Department of Medicaid Director Barbara Sears, during the agency’s public comment period, calling on the agency to rethink controversial and partisan Medicaid restrictions. The new restrictions would deny some qualifying Medicaid recipients their healthcare without notice if they cannot work a specified number of hours in a given month.


03.07.18 - Rep. Sykes Announces Over $22 Million In District Funds From State Capital Budget


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the House passage of House Bill (HB) 529, the state’s $2.6 billion biennial capital bill. The capital budget is primarily used to fund the upkeep of state facilities, colleges and university campuses and state lands, but also includes a number of community projects of local or regional interest. Sykes announced the bill contains more than $22 million in local projects for House district 34.


03.06.18 - Sykes: Real State Of The State Shows Ohio Losing Ground To Too Many Other States


Ohio House Democratic lawmakers this evening responded to Gov. Kasich’s annual State of the State address in Westerville, Ohio. Though the governor touted a comeback for the Buckeye State, House Democrats noted that Ohioans disproportionately face lower quality-of-life standards than the rest of the nation. 


02.28.18 - Road Improvement Bill Passes Ohio House With Bipartisan Support


State Reps. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today applauded the passage of House Bill (HB) 415, which would create a new state fund to provide funding to local governments for road improvement projects. Sykes and Galonski both cosponsored the legislation.


02.25.18 - Rep. Sykes Joins Face The State With Scott Light To Discuss Domestic Violence, Gun Laws


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) appeard on Face the State Sunday to discuss doemestic violence and gun laws in Ohio.


02.23.18 - Sykes Stands With Ohio Workers, Speaks Out Against GOP Anti-worker Bills


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) issued a statement in support of the Working People’s Day of Action planned for Saturday, February 24 at the Ohio Statehouse. The Ohio march comes on the heels of the introduction of six Republican-sponsored constitutional amendments to implement so-called “right to work” legislation and other workplace restrictions in the Buckeye State. 


02.20.18 - Ohio Senate Expected To Pass Bipartisan Bill Protecting Victims Of Dating Violence


The Ohio Senate is expected to pass state Rep. Emilia Sykes’ (D-Akron) House Bill (HB) 1 today, bipartisan legislation to modernize Ohio’s domestic violence laws. Co-authored with state Rep. Nathan Manning (R-N. Ridgeville), HB 1 will allow victims of dating violence to obtain civil protective orders against their attacker, a protection currently allowed in every state except Ohio and Georgia.

“I am pleased that the Senate will take action today to protect people who are victims of dating violence,” Sykes said. “Unfortunately, Ohio is one of the last states to recognize dating relationships when requesting a protection order. Thankfully it is never too late to save a life.”*

The National Dating Violence Hotline defines intimate partner violence, which includes dating violence, as a repetitive pattern of behaviors – including physical or sexual violence, threats, intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation – used to maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Current Ohio law only recognizes domestic violence as violence occurring between spouses, those cohabiting, persons who have a child in common, or family members. The senate amendments add dating relationships to the existing domestic violence statute, giving victims rights including information from the attorney general’s office and access to battered women’s shelters.

The House will likely approve Senate changes to the bill in the coming weeks. The legislation then will head to the Gov. Kasich’s desk for his anticipated signature.


02.16.18 - State Medicaid Move Seeks To Chip Away Healthcare Laws Protecting People In Need Of Temporary Assistance


State Reps. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today expressed disappointment regarding proposed Medicaid restrictions released this afternoon by the Kasich Administration.

The Administration is seeking the restrictions in a waiver request to the federal government that stems from Republican attempts to undercut the state’s Medicaid expansion in the previous state budget. Though the Administration claims no more than 36,036 Ohioans are in jeopardy of losing healthcare coverage under the new restrictions, the actual number of people impacted could be significantly higher if the economy slows down, or more people have trouble finding work. 


02.12.18 - As Pregnancy Related Deaths Rise In Ohio, Sykes Looks To Raise Maternal Mortality Awareness


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced legislation that would designate the month of May in Ohio “Maternal Mortality Awareness Month” to recognize the Ohio mothers who die each year from pregnancy related complications.

The number of Ohio mothers who die from pregnancy related complications has increased threefold from a decade ago. The average death rate in 2016, according to the Ohio Department of Health, is 85 women per 100,000 live births.

“Ohio has the opportunity to be a leader in maternal mortality awareness,” said Sykes. “By designating a month for awareness, we will bring light to the various causes of maternal mortality, develop new ideas and protocols to limit and eliminate pregnancy related death, and show the women of Ohio that the state supports their health and well-being during and after pregnancy.”


02.02.18 - Akron Lawmakers Encourage Parents To Take Advantage Of Open Preschool Slots


State Senator Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) and state Reps. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today announced a number of preschools offering quality, early childhood education programs in the Greater Akron area have open slots available at free or reduced cost.


01.26.18 - Rep. Sykes Receives Ohio Association Of Convention & Visitors Bureau Friend Of The Industry Award


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) recently received the 2017 Susan L. Hamo Friend of the Industry Award on behalf of the Ohio Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau, which recognizes those who have committed their work to advancing Ohio’s tourism industry.

“Tourism across our state helps to create jobs, build cultural relationships and boost the local economy,” said Sykes. “It has been my pleasure to assist the Ohio Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau during the budget cycle and I am honored to receive the Friend of the Industry Award.” 


01.16.18 - Rep. Sykes Encourages Constituents To Share Thoughts, Concerns In New Online Survey


With the start of the near year, state Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today called for constituents and the public to share their concerns, suggestions and other thoughts regarding the direction of the state through a new online survey. 


12.21.17 - Rep. Sykes Recognizes Homeless Persons Memorial Day In Ohio


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today recognized National Homeless Persons Memorial Day, a day to raise awareness regarding homelessness and remember those experiencing homelessness who have died in the previous year. Many cities across the country hold vigils each year to recognize and remember those who have passed.



12.18.17 - Sykes Announces Almost $200K For Summit County Disability Housing


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the release of $190,790 in state funding for Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) community housing purchases and renovations in Summit County.

“Families in Summit County depend on services like community homes to ensure loved ones are able to live safely, with some level of independence,” said Sykes. “By helping purchase and improve community residences we are able to offer people with developmental disabilities access to a safe and affordable home.”

The DODD Community Capital Assistance program helps purchase and renovate homes used to provide community living space for those with disabilities. Summit County offers a variety community housing including in-home support, shared living, adult family living and foster care living.


12.12.17 - Sykes Urges DeWine To Respect Court Of Appeals Decision Upholding Local Hiring Standards


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today called on Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to respect the 8th District of Ohio Court of Appeals’ recent decision declaring a 2016 state law outlawing local hiring standards, House Bill 180, unconstitutional.*

“Local hiring standards represent a commitment by cities to combat underemployment and reinvest in local communities. Workers benefit from public construction projects that often include jobs with apprenticeships – clear career paths and quality on-the-job training that pay dividends beyond the duration of a single project,” Sykes wrote in a letter to DeWine.

The City of Cleveland sued the state in 2016 after the Republican-passed bill directly conflicted with the city’s Fannie Lewis law, a local ordinance requiring public construction be completed with at least 20 percent local labor. Akron similarly uses local hiring standards on more than $1 billion in public works projects.

“Ohioans deserve a fair shot at good-paying local jobs because they have a stake in rebuilding the communities where they live and raise their families,” Sykes continued. “By putting money back in the hands of Ohio workers, local hiring ordinances like Cleveland’s Fannie Lewis Law are strengthening local businesses and giving workers the opportunity to get ahead. Without local hiring ordinances, investments would be more likely to flow to out of state companies and workers with no stake in the health and success of our regional economies.”

Sykes said she plans to introduce legislation in the new year that will strengthen Ohio communities’ ability to make decisions about local hiring standards.


12.07.17 - Bipartisan Effort Would Streamline Access To Justice For Ohio's Wrongfully Imprisoned


State Reps. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) announced new legislation to modernize Ohio’s wrongful imprisonment laws, House Bill 411. The legislation would streamline access to justice for people who have been wrongfully imprisoned in Ohio.

“Victims of injustice deserve vindication and reasonable compensation for the time spent in prison that takes them away from their families and community,” said Sykes. “With this bipartisan bill we are giving more people an opportunity to be compensated if they have been wrongfully imprisoned by the state.”


11.07.17 - Sykes Encourages Taxpayers To Get Covered During ACA Open Enrollment


As Republicans in Washington try to dismantle healthcare and slash enrollment periods and public notice, state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) is encouraging Ohio taxpayers without health insurance to sign up and get covered during the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period, which ends on Dec. 15, 2017.

“This about more than just finding healthcare insurance you can afford at a reasonable price,” said Sykes. “This is about you and your family’s economic security and stability. Though many of us don’t think we need healthcare, we are all just one accident or diagnosis away from a life-changing hospital stay or operation.”

Sykes notes that last year, eight out of ten taxpayers who signed up for healthcare during open enrollment took advantage of a significant financial discount. Sykes warns that if you miss this open enrollment period in 2017, you likely miss out on healthcare for all of 2018.

You can sign up through or find more information at


11.01.17 - Rep. Sykes Announces $500,000 In State Funds For Summit Metro Park Trails


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the release of $500,000 in state funds to the Summit Metro Parks to provide trail linkage from Mill Street at the University of Akron to the Towpath Trail.

“Improving our trailway infrastructure not only promotes healthy lifestyles, but also improves safety for walkers, bikers and all those who use our system,” said Rep. Sykes. “Summit County is fortunate to have such a beautiful natural resource in our metro parks. The funding to allow us to link Mill Street and the University of Akron to the Towpath Trail is major step forward in improving transportation, recreation and connectivity in our community.”


10.27.17 - Sykes Applauds Summit County's Opioid Emergency Declaration, Continue Call For Kasich To Do The Same


State Reps. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today both penned letters to Gov. Kasich renewing calls for him to declare a state of emergency to combat Ohio’s worst-in-the-nation opioid epidemic. While President Trump this week declared the opioid crisis an emergency on the national level, Gov. Kasich has repeatedly rebuffed Democratic calls to join six other states in declaring a statewide emergency. Ohio continues to lead the nation in opioid overdose deaths.

“The governor continues to wrongly claim that he can’t declare an emergency to free up desperately needed funds to combat this illness that is devastating our state—though we’ve seen him do it as recently as last year to pay for extra security at the Republican Convention in Cleveland,” said Rep. Sykes. “We need real leadership on this issue that’s crushing Ohio families and our state’s bottom line. Summit County has been taking the lead on this issue in Northeast Ohio, but we can’t do it alone. Only a bold, comprehensive statewide plan can get Ohio back on the path to health and prosperity.”


10.11.17 - Sykes' Bipartisan Bill Naming February "Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month" Heads To Governor's Desk


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the Ohio Senate’s unanimous passage of House Bill 94, marking its last legislative stop before Gov. John Kasich’s anticipated signature into law. Jointly sponsored by Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek), the bipartisan legislation establishes February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in Ohio in an effort to raise awareness around teen dating violence in hopes of preventing abuse and helping victims find safety.

“By designating February Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, we are giving light to something that is tragically effecting our youth at high rates,” said Sykes. “Increasing public awareness and raising the profile of this problem in schools, communities and throughout our state will help more people get the help they need to stop the cycle of violence.”

The Office of Criminal Justice Services Family Violence Prevention Center defines dating abuse as a pattern of controlling behavior that someone uses against his or her girlfriend or boyfriend. Abuse can cause injury or even death, but does not have to be physical. One in five children between the ages of 11-14 say their friends are victims of dating violence. Teens who are victims of dating violence are more likely to be depressed and do poorly in school. 


09.20.17 - Sykes Selected For National Women In Government Leadership Program


Governing magazine today announced State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) has been selected as one of 25 women elected leaders to the Women in Government Leadership Program Class of 2018. The women selected for the program are changing the face of politics in America, according to the publication, from council chambers to statehouses, during a tumultuous time in American history. The program celebrates their service, courage and commitment to advancing good government.

“It is an honor to be selected for the 2018 Women in Government Leadership Program. I look forward to collaborating and sharing experiences with intelligent and innovative women from all levels of government across the United States,” said Sykes.

Governing Institute’s Women in Government Leadership Program brings together outstanding elected women leaders from across the nation to acknowledge their contributions, provide leadership development and mentor the next generation of women leaders to run for office.

“The women in the Class of 2018 are subject matter experts, negotiators, civic activists and pioneers,” said Julia Burrows, director of the Governing Institute. “Each year, the program adds to a national network, with 25 new members who establish deep friendships, provide consultation and campaign support and recruit future female candidates. The common goals of gender parity and advancing good government forge a bond that rises above partisanship and will pay dividends for many generations.”

The 25 women in the program’s new class will be profiled in the February 2018 issue of Governing magazine and will participate in Governing events throughout the coming year.

The Class of 2018 will gather for their first leadership conference in November in Phoenix, Arizona. 


09.06.17 - Sykes Announces State Funding For Local Quick-response Drug Teams


State Reps. Emilia Sykes and Tavia Galonski today announced the release of $200,000 in state funding to better help local citizens in Summit County get the treatment they need to recover from drug addiction.

“The recovery process can be a long and difficult journey. Our drug abuse response teams are at the front lines, offering counseling, rehabilitation, and aftercare to our community members struggling with addiction,” said Sykes. “This funding will strengthen our community’s efforts to assist the people and families ravaged by the statewide opioid epidemic.”


09.01.17 - Akron Lawmakers Respond To Police Chief's Racial Slurs


Akron state lawmakers, Reps. Emilia Strong Sykes and Tavia Galonski, today issued the following joint statement in response to former Akron Police Chief James Nice’s use of racial slurs while in office:

“While our nation seems to be approaching a critical intersection of hateful and divisive dialogue, Nice’s language plays to this ugliness, distorting who we are as a community. We condemn Nice’s behavior in the strongest terms possible. We also urge our neighbors and constituents to look beyond one man’s failings in order to champion the good and righteous within our community. We are more than one person’s bad decisions. We are more than one man or woman’s judgement. We are Akron.”


09.01.17 - Sykes Responds To Police Chief's Racial Slurs


Akron state lawmakers, Reps. Emilia Strong Sykes and Tavia Galonski, today issued the following joint statement in response to former Akron Police Chief James Nice’s use of racial slurs while in office:

“While our nation seems to be approaching a critical intersection of hateful and divisive dialogue, Nice’s language plays to this ugliness, distorting who we are as a community. We condemn Nice’s behavior in the strongest terms possible. We also urge our neighbors and constituents to look beyond one man’s failings in order to champion the good and righteous within our community. We are more than one person’s bad decisions. We are more than one man or woman’s judgement. We are Akron.”


08.01.17 - Tax-free Shopping This Weekend Seeks To Give Families Much-needed Break


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today reminds families about Ohio’s third sales tax-free holiday scheduled for this weekend, August 4-6. The tax-free holiday runs Friday through Sunday and covers many back-to-school items, including clothing, school supplies and instructional materials.

“The tax-free holiday weekend allows for some relief for the many families that have started preparing for their kids to go back to school this fall,” said Sykes. “The small dollar amount saved during the tax-free holiday may not seem like much, but a little can go a long way for Ohio’s working middle class families that are trying to makes ends meet.”


07.06.17 - Sykes: GOP Bill To Weaken Concealed Carry Protections Puts Public Safety In The Crosshairs


In a political effort to hamstring Ohio House Democratic lawmakers in a pro-gun, anti-gun debate today on the House floor, Republicans brought forward House Bill (HB) 233 for a vote, legislation that allows concealed carry permit holders to knowingly bring guns or deadly weapons into daycares, schools, airports, bars and other restricted spaces, so long as the permit holder leaves when asked to do so. Individuals who refuse to leave or return to the same business while carrying a prohibited weapon within 30 days will be subject to a fourth degree misdemeanor.

“Allowing people to knowingly bring a deadly weapon to our communities most vulnerable and high trafficked areas—like schools and daycares—will put people at risk,” said Assistant Minority Whip Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “A concealed carry permit does not give blanket protection to people from committing criminal acts.”


07.06.17 - Sykes: Medicaid Restrictions, Taxes Among Eleven Potential Law Changes From House GOP Veto Showdown With Governor


Today, the Republican-controlled Ohio House of Representatives overrode eleven items Governor John Kasich vetoed in the recently passed state budget, House Bill (HB) 49. Under the House’s overrides, Medicaid expansion will have to be reauthorized through the state Controlling Board and new taxes on working people could be put in place as a condition of healthcare coverage – if the Senate takes up the House overrides.

“While I am glad the House didn’t act on a straightforward Medicaid freeze today, House Republicans set up a potentially insidious, back door freeze by seeking new barriers to Medicaid healthcare coverage for working people,” said House Democratic Assistant Whip Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “While Ohio’s economy is lagging behind the nation’s, now isn’t the time to play games with lifesaving healthcare for hundreds of thousands of working Ohioans who want to provide economic stability for their families. With these restrictions, we are just putting up more roadblocks on a path to the middle class for working people in our state.”


06.29.17 - Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes Urges Kasich To Veto Medicaid Expansion Freeze


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today sent a letter to Governor Kasich urging him to line-item veto the Medicaid expansion freeze in the state operating budget, House Bill (HB) 49, that will end healthcare coverage for over half-a-million people.

“The people of Ohio deserve representatives in Columbus who will stand up and fight for them,” said state Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron). “Passing the Medicaid expansion freeze and kicking people off of Medicaid is unacceptable, harmful, and cruel and unusual punishment.”

If approved by the federal government, the GOP freeze to Ohio’s Medicaid expansion will phase out medical coverage for over half-a-million Ohioans, leaving families with minimal healthcare options. 

“We need to provide healthcare for Ohio’s families, all of Ohio’s families.” Sykes said. “Without access to healthcare, lives will be lost and costs will rise. Ohio cannot afford to pay for the increased costs that will come by taking away people’s healthcare.”

A copy of the letter sent to Gov. Kasich is pasted below 

June 28, 2017

Governor John Kasich

Riffe Center, 30th Floor

77 South High Street

Columbus, Ohio 43215

Governor Kasich,

We write to urge you to line-item veto the Medicaid Expansion freeze in Budget House Bill  49. If signed into law, this will dramatically change the state’s ability to provide healthcare for many Ohioans in need.

Medicaid Expansion has allowed more than 725,000 Ohioans to receive proper care, including the developmentally disabled, the elderly, families in transition, veterans, pregnant women and low income families. Ohioans need to be healthy in order to be productive in their day to day lives. Without the ability to afford doctor visits, hospital stays, nursing home care, home health care, and long term care costs, families will spiral into debt, illness and despair.

We have had the opportunity to hear from many families who have utilized the Medicaid Expansion and how it has positively affected their lives. Now, their safety and security is in danger.

Families without health insurance are more likely to stop receiving preventative care, because the out-of-pocket cost is exorbitantly high. We implore you to consider the fate of many Ohioans who will suffer and even die due to the Medicaid expansion freeze.

We hope you will consider this proposal and choose not to sign this damaging piece of legislation into law. The future of the families of the entire state of Ohio depends on it.



06.29.17 - Bipartisan Bill Would End Virtual Debtors' Prison


State Reps. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) today announced legislation to end virtual debtors’ prison in Ohio by granting automatic restricted driving privileges for low-level offenses unrelated to driving, like failing to pay court fines or late child support payments.

“As Americans, we believe in a justice system that is fair and impartial,” said Sykes. “But in Ohio, we have been trapping lower and middle-income taxpayers in a downward spiral of job loss, debt and jail time for low-level offenses. With this commonsense bill, we can break this cycle, further justice and get people back to work.”

Though courts may grant driving privileges without House Bill 260, punishment can vary widely and ultimately result in job loss when someone loses their ability to get to work for falling behind in court fines or child support payments. In Ohio, a person could eventually end up in jail if a license suspension results in job loss and additional fines that can’t be paid.


05.31.17 - Sykes Comments On Ohio Lawsuit Against Big Pharma


COLUMBUS— State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today responded to news that Attorney General Mike DeWine is suing five drug companies for allegedly flooding Ohio with addictive opioid painkillers:    

“While I agree drug companies should be held responsible for recklessly pushing powerfully addictive painkillers, a lawsuit alone isn’t going to prevent additional deaths due to opioid and heroin addiction and abuse.

“For too long, Ohio has been the face of the national opioid epidemic. Why are we leading in opioid deaths but severely lagging when it comes to confronting this public health emergency?


05.18.17 - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Host 4th Annual AKA Day At The Capitol


Yesterday, State Representatives Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Paul Zeltwanger (R-Mason) hosted Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated at Ohio House of Representatives for the fourth annual Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated Day at the Capitol.

“As a member of this esteemed organization, I consider it my honor to host these women today as they promote scholarship and service to all mankind,” said Sykes. “We work hard in Alpha Kappa Alpha to empower and educate our communities, and I am pleased that I am able to assist.”


05.05.17 - Sykes Kicks Off Community Bike Safety Program, Aims To Reduce Youth Head Injuries


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today partnered with the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to support the organization’s bike safety awareness assembly. The event, arranged at Helen Arnold Community Learning Center, is part of the AAP’s month-long program promoting the benefits of proper helmet use.

“Bike helmet safety is an important and often overlooked way we can protect the children in our community,” said Sykes. “I’m proud to collaborate with the Ohio AAP for this cause, and I’m confident that events like this will have a real, positive impact on our youth.”


04.25.17 - Bipartisan Proposal To Establish Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Clears Ohio House


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the unanimous passage of House Bill 94, her bipartisan legislation to establish February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in Ohio. Joint-sponsored by Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek), the bill will help raise awareness regarding teen dating violence in hopes of stopping abuse before it starts and helping victims reach safety from their abuser.   

“When left unchecked, dating violence among teens often escalates and leads to dating violence among young adults, perpetuating the cycle of violence for a lifetime,” said Sykes. “Ending and preventing violent relationships will improve the lives of young women and men as they enter adulthood by helping them recognize what it means to be in a healthy, loving relationship.” 


04.11.17 - Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Presents Proclamation To Martin Luther King, III


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) today presented a proclamation to Martin Luther King, III at the Ohio Civil Rights Symposium for advocating for human rights and his involvement in significant policy initiatives for equitable treatment.

“I am pleased to recognize Mr. King’s achievements with my fellow legislative colleagues,” said Sykes. “His consistent message and proposed policy initiatives that promote nonviolent social change are fundamental to breaking down racial barriers. I greatly admire his dedication and hope to carry his message of equal opportunity for all to the legislature.”


04.06.17 - Rep. Sykes Receives Outstanding Victim Service Award


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) recently received the Rev. Dr. Robert Denton Outstanding Victim Service Award from the Victim Assistance Program, a local nonprofit that offers a multitude of services for individuals after victimization or trauma. The Rev. Dr. Robert Denton Outstanding Service award is given to an individual who has dedicated their work to assisting victims through criminal justice reform, legislation, medical, mental health and social work support.

“I greatly admire the work of the Summit County Victims Assistance program, and I am honored that they would consider me for this award,” said Sykes. “While I admire how far we’ve come, I am also reminded that our work isn’t done in Ohio. I look forward to continue working with lawmakers across the aisle to ensure the rights of victims of crime are upheld in our state.”


02.28.17 - Bipartisan Bill To Modernize State Domestic Violence Laws Clears Ohio House


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the House passage of House Bill (HB) 1, her bipartisan legislation to modernize Ohio’s domestic violence laws. Joint-sponsored by Rep. Nathan Manning (R-N. Ridgeville), HB 1 will allow victims of dating violence to obtain civil protective orders against their attacker, a protection currently allowed in every state except Ohio and Georgia. 

“For far too long, Ohio’s antiquated domestic violence laws have left thousands of Ohioans vulnerable to dating violence,” said Sykes. “My colleagues and I agree: it is past time to pull Ohio out of the dark ages and join the rest of the country in protecting victims of abuse. I am pleased we were able to come together in a bipartisan manner to help bring Ohio’s domestic violence protections into the 21st Century.” 


02.27.17 - Sykes Announces $100,000 In State Support For Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the release of $100,000 in state funding to Northeast Ohio Psychiatric Institute in Akron to continue to provide clinical coverage to Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare.

“These state dollars will help some of Ohio’s most vulnerable individuals get into treatment and access much needed health care services,” said Sykes. “I’m pleased to see the state invest in the health and well-being of those in the Akron community, and I look forward to the relief this will bring to those in need and their families.” 


02.02.17 - Dem Proposal To Modernize State Domestic Violence Laws Opens New General Assembly


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 1, bipartisan legislation to modernize Ohio’s dating violence laws. The bill is modeled after HB 392 of the 131st General Assembly, legislation that passed the House unanimously last spring and as an amendment during the lame duck session. House Bill (HB) 1, co-sponsored by Rep. Nathan Manning (R-N. Ridgeville), would allow victims of dating violence to obtain civil protective orders against their attacker, a protection not allowed under current Ohio law.

“It is past time we pull Ohio out of the dark ages by modernizing our laws to protect all victims who are impacted by dating violence,” said Sykes. “By allowing this measure to become House Bill 1, we are sending a clear message that now is the time to close the loophole in Ohio’s dating violence laws. With every day we wait, more women and men in Ohio are placed in serious danger.”


02.01.17 - Sykes Applauds Court Ruling Blocking State Local Hiring Ban


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today released the following statement regarding Cuyahoga County Commons Pleas Judge Michael J. Russo’s ruling that the state overstepped its constitutional authority when it sought to block local hiring laws around the state: 

“I commend this week’s commonsense ruling to block the state’s local hiring ban, because I believe working men and women deserve a fair shot at good-paying local jobs that can provide economic stability for them and their families.

“Local hiring standards are an effective tool for communities to combat high unemployment rates, especially among minority communities in our state’s urban cores.


02.01.17 - Rep. Sykes Applauds Court Ruling Blocking State Local Hiring Ban


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today released the following statement regarding Cuyahoga County Commons Pleas Judge Michael J. Russo’s ruling that the state overstepped its constitutional authority when it sought to block local hiring laws around the state: 

“I commend this week’s commonsense ruling to block the state’s local hiring ban, because I believe working men and women deserve a fair shot at good-paying local jobs that can provide economic stability for them and their families. 


01.27.17 - Rep. Sykes Seeks Public Input Ahead Of State Budget Negotiations


With the unveiling of the state biennial budget proposal just days away, state Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today called for constituents and the public to share their concerns, suggestions and other thoughts regarding the direction of the state through a new online survey. 

Citizens can access the survey here:


01.13.17 - Rep. Sykes Outlines Priorities For Second Term


Soon after being sworn in for a second term representing Ohio’s 34th House District, state Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) announced her priorities for the new General Assembly. 

“As we begin the new year, it is clear that Ohio faces real challenges,” said Sykes. “A new General Assembly provides a new opportunity to work with others across the aisle to pass meaningful legislation that provides better jobs, access to essential healthcare services and quality educational opportunities for our children.” 


12.20.16 - Rep. Sykes Named 2016 Legislative Champion For Kids


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today was recognized as the 2016 Legislative Champion for Kids by the Safe Kids Summit. Each year, the coalition recognizes active elected officials, engaged community members, outstanding schools, and students who work to promote child safety in Summit County. 

“I am truly honored to be recognized by a group that does so much to promote the safety and well-being of our young people,” said Sykes. “I am eager to continue working at the state level to combat infant mortality while promoting commonsense safety initiatives like bike helmet use, efforts that will help protect some of our most vulnerable Ohioans.” 


12.07.16 - Sykes: Legislature Sends Opioid Omnibus Legislation To Governor's Desk After Summer Of Silence


The Ohio House today put the final stamp of approval on opioid omnibus legislation after months of inaction during the rapidly growing opioid addiction crisis. Ohio was recently identified as the national leader in opioid and heroin overdose deaths by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s analysis of U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention Data.

“There is a clear disconnect between bills being passed in Columbus, and the lives that are being lost in places across the state like Akron, Portsmouth and Cincinnati,” said State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “The state can and must do more to address this statewide emergency – it is literally a matter of life or death.” 

The legislation, Senate Bill 319, passed after a trio of amendments from Democratic lawmakers to provide much-needed emergency funding and allow immediate implementation of the bill were rejected by GOP lawmakers. 


12.07.16 - Sykes Celebrates Local University Of Akron Olympic Bronze Medalist Clayton Murphy


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today offered a House Resolution honoring University of Akron student Clayton Murphy for being awarded the bronze medal in the 800-meter dash at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Murphy, a senior at the University of Akron, will be graduating in May with a degree in Corporate Finance.

“I am thrilled to be honoring Clayton Murphy on the House floor today. It is often said that the 34th House District is the birthplace of champions, and Mr. Murphy is no exception,” said Sykes. “Also to be credited is his coach, Lee LaBadie, and the track and field coaching staff at the University.”   


12.07.16 - Sykes: Eleventh-hour Lawmaking Brings Strictest Abortion Ban In The Nation To Kasich's Desk


Eleventh-hour lawmaking brought the strictest abortion ban in the nation to Gov. John Kasich’s desk this evening, for his signature into law. With U.S. Senate inaction giving way to a pending U.S. Supreme Court justice appointment from President-elect Donald Trump, Ohio Republicans appear to be counting on a new federal bench to re-litigate the constitutionality of their attacks on women’s health care. But Roe v. Wade is settled law upheld most recently by the Whole Women’s Health decision which overturned undue burdens on women’s access to abortion.

The unprecedented six-week abortion ban was amended into House Bill 493, legislation that strengthens Ohio’s child abuse reporting system. The last-minute amendment comes as the legislature closes out the 131st General Assembly on Thursday.

“If the legislature is serious about supporting life, how about supporting babies and families in a state with one of the worst infant mortality rates in the nation? How about finally adequately funding our children’s education? For all the talk from some lawmakers about the sanctity and value of life, that value seems to end once the child is outside the womb. This extreme, unconstitutional legislation places partisan politics above the health and well-being of Ohio women and their families.” –Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron)


11.29.16 - Akron Lawmakers Celebrate The RubberDucks 2016 Eastern League Championship Title


State Reps. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) and Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today applauded the adoption of House Resolution (HR) 534, legislation honoring the Akron RubberDucks as the 2016 Eastern League Champions. The Akron RubberDucks, Double-A affiliates of the Cleveland Indians, won the organization’s fifth championship title this past September by defeating the Trenton Thunder 2-1. 

“Once again, the RubberDucks continue the 34th House District’s longstanding tradition of being the birthplace of champions. I am so immensely proud of this team’s unyielding dedication that has earned them this title for the fifth time in 12 years,” said Sykes. “The RubberDucks, along with owner Ken Babby, are an invaluable treasure of the Akron community, and it has been my honor to recognize them at the Statehouse today.”   


11.17.16 - Sykes Sees Problems With Legislation Expanding Criminal Offenses


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes today expressed concern that a House-passed measure to expand the offense of involuntary manslaughter conflicts with recently enacted laws and will likely have an unintended negative impact, especially on minority communities in Ohio.

 House Bill (HB) 270, passed by the House this afternoon, would expand the offense of involuntary manslaughter to include causing or contributing to another’s death by selling, dispensing, or administering a controlled substance. 

“We saw what happened in the 1980s and early ‘90s when states took a knee-jerk approach to combatting drug epidemics by being so-called ‘tough on crime’,” said Sykes. “While this bill may have good intentions, I believe it will likely exacerbate racial inequities in our criminal justice system and put Ohioans struggling with substance abuse behind bars instead of getting them the treatment they need.” 


11.10.16 - Sykes Discusses Future Of Medicaid, Healthcare Policy In Post-election Landscape


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today participated in the 2016 Impact Ohio – Post Election Conference Panel to discuss the ramifications of the general election on Medicaid and health and human services policy in the state. 

“Public health is one of my top priorities as a legislator, and I relish the opportunity to speak publicly about the healthcare challenges Ohioans face— particularly, access to care challenges for women and minorities, as well as the alarmingly high rate of infant mortality,” said Sykes. “This election will undoubtedly have a tremendous impact on the direction of health policy at both the National and state level. I am grateful to lend my voice to the discussion and help ensure that we do not let the most vulnerable Ohioans slip through the cracks."


10.31.16 - Sykes Announces State Release Of $12M To Replace High-risk Route 8 Bridge


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the release of $12 million in state funds for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to replace the Major Bridge on State Route 8 in Summit County. The funding was approved at today’s meeting by the Controlling Board, a panel tasked with oversight of state spending. 

“Our state’s roads and bridges provide the foundation for a strong economy that keeps goods, services and people moving safely and efficiently every day,” said Sykes. “That makes it especially important for the state to maintain an active partnership with local communities to modernize outdated and unsafe infrastructure. I am pleased that the state has made this commitment to provide the much-needed necessary resources to improve a critical part of our community.” 


10.19.16 - Rep. Sykes: State, Local Partnership Helps Connect Akron Residents With Economic Opportunities


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) recently recognized the 10 graduates of the first ever Drive for Success program in Akron. Established jointly by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Akron Summit County Action Agency (ASCA), Drive for Success helps provide individuals with the opportunity to attain career readiness skills in the construction industry.

“The Drive for Success program is a marvelous example of how effective partnerships between the state and local communities can help expand access to economic opportunities for our residents,” said Sykes. “By providing these graduates with the training they need to enter and find success in the workforce, we are investing in their future as well as the future growth of our regional economy.” 


10.05.16 - Sykes Kicks Off Safe Sleep Awareness Month With Awareness Campaign Promoting Lifesaving Sleep Practices For Infants


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) Tuesday kicked off Safe Sleep Awareness Month with visits to Cleveland Clinic Akron General and Summa Health Equity Center to drop off onesies and discuss safe sleeping practices for babies. In collaboration with Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA Early) Childhood Initiative and ACCESS Shelter & Housing, a local organization dedicated to addressing the plight of women and children in the Akron community, Sykes is gathering donated onesies for  families in need and spreading awareness about safe sleeping practices for Ohio babies. The onesies, donated by the Ohio Hospital Association, have “This Side Up” printed across the front—a reminder to parents that doctors recommend all infants sleep on their backs to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).


09.13.16 - Sykes Joins Fudge To Discuss Ohio Voter Suppression Laws In Place For Presidential Election


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) will speak at the 7th Annual National Pen-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Presidents’ Forum about the importance of protecting voting rights this election, Wednesday, Sept. 14th at 2:00 p.m. The forum presented in partnership with Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, will focus on the effects of voter suppression laws across the U.S., as well as solutions to combat and improve voter turnout. 


09.06.16 - Rep. Sykes To Be Honored As One Of Akron Chamber's "30 For The Future" Leaders


The Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce recently announced State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) has been selected as a recipient of their 2016 “30 for the Future” award. The tenth annual celebration, held in late September, will recognize 31 young professionals who make a positive impact in the Akron community through their dynamic leadership and community service. Honorees of the “30 for the Future” award range from young professionals ages 25-39, across industries of healthcare, higher education, energy, and social service outreach, among others.

“It is truly humbling to be recognized by an organization dedicated to promoting and improving the vibrancy of the Akron community,” said Sykes. “This award is a reminder that, while we celebrate our region’s progress and some of the leaders who contribute to it, there is still work ahead of us to build a brighter future for our region and city. I look forward to continuing to take action and help lead the conversation on how to pave a path toward economic stability for the next generation of Ohioans.” 


08.17.16 - Rep. Sykes Calls On Kasich Reverse Cuts To Early Childhood Education


State Reps. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today called on Gov. Kasich to put a stop to an administrative rule change that would leave child care centers across the state with fewer resources to provide critical enrichment opportunities to vulnerable, low-income Ohio children and their families.


08.08.16 - Sykes Announces State Support For High-tech Internships At Local Small Business


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the release of $10,000 to AkroSense LLC for the reimbursement of internship opportunities as part of the Ohio Tech Internship (OTI) program.

“This investment will help to inspire the entrepreneurs of tomorrow by creating hands-on technical workplace opportunities for many students who find internship unattainable,” said Sykes. “The OTI program is a phenomenal supporting tool for small businesses like AkroSense to get new companies off the ground and help spur economic growth within these local, underserved communities.” 


08.04.16 - Rep. Emilia Sykes Encourages Ohio Families To Take Advantage Of Tax-free Shopping This Weekend


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced Ohio’s second sales tax-free holiday scheduled for this weekend, August 5-7. The tax-free holiday runs Friday through Sunday and covers many back-to-school items, including clothing, school supplies and instructional materials.

The sales tax holiday was first introduced in 2015 and, according to an analysis conducted by the University of Cincinnati’s Economic Center, saved consumers over $3 million on almost $47 million worth of back-to-school purchases. 


08.01.16 - Akron Lawmakers Remember Late Summit County Executive As Dedicated Public Servant


State Reps. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Greta Johnson (D-Akron) today offered their condolences following the passing of Summit County Executive Russ Pry. Pry’s death comes just two days after announcing that he would not seek re-election due to ongoing health issues. 


07.26.16 - Rep. Sykes Announces August District Office Hours


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) will host district office hours throughout the month of August at various Akron Public Library branch locations.

“I’m looking forward to meeting with constituents in person and speaking one-on-one about any concerns or questions they might have,” said Rep. Sykes. “Everyone is welcome, and no issue is too big or too small to discuss when it comes to government policy that directly affects each and every taxpayer. I hope people will take advantage of these office hours even if they simply stop by to say hello.”


07.25.16 - Sykes Announces Close To $1M For Statewide Early Childhood Special Ed Program


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the release of over $700,000 for the expansion of the Sit Together and Read – Ohio (STAR – Ohio) 10-county program to help reduce the risk of future disabilities for children in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) classrooms. The state funding will be used to further Summit County’s reach and development of the “Sit Together and Read” program to 525 students in the first year of the program’s operation. Funding was made available for the program through the state’s “Straight A Grant.”


06.27.16 - Rep. Sykes Comments On U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Affirming Women's Right To Comprehensive Healthcare


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which the court found that restrictions on access to comprehensive healthcare in Texas placed an undue burden on women, violating the American Constitution: 

“I am pleased the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of women to have full and unfettered access to reproductive healthcare services. As the state of Ohio continues to place undue burdens on women who are simply seeking healthcare, state lawmakers should take note of this ruling and recognize that a woman’s right to make their own healthcare choices continues to be protected under the U.S. Constitution.”


06.24.16 - Sykes: Community Programs Will Improve Quality Of Life For Vulnerable Ohioans


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced state funding for two important community programs that seek to expand economic opportunities and access to healthcare for Akron residents.

AxessPointe Community Health Center, Inc. recently received $350,000 in federal grant money to expand access to oral healthcare in the Akron area. The local community health center was one of 16 Ohio centers that received almost $6.5 million from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

“Oral health is directly connected to overall health,” said Sykes. “More healthy smiles in Akron mean a higher quality of life and improved health for our community, and I am very pleased to see our community health centers will be able to expand access to oral healthcare for the most vulnerable citizens.”  


06.10.16 - Sykes To Be Honored For Work Promoting Improved Public Health


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) has been selected to receive the 2016 Public Health Practice Excellence Award by the Consortium of Eastern Ohio Master of Public Health Programs. The Akron lawmaker will be recognized by the consortium for her public service efforts to improve health outcomes for Ohio communities at a ceremony in Cleveland on June 12, 2016.  

“From our high infant mortality rate to the growing opioid addiction crisis, Ohio faces serious challenges to our public health. However, through greater education, collaboration and commonsense states policies, I am confident that we can help improve health outcomes for communities across the state,” said Sykes. 


05.25.16 - Democratic Proposal To Modernize State Domestic Violence Laws Clears House


The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill (HB) 392, legislation to modernize Ohio’s domestic violence laws. The bill, sponsored by Democratic freshman State Reps. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Christie Kuhns (D-Cincinnati), will allow victims of domestic violence at the hands of an intimate partner to obtain civil protective orders against their attacker. 

If enacted, HB 392 will close a loophole in existing state law that leaves thousands of Ohioans without recourse in the event of domestic violence. Ohio only defines domestic violence as occurring between spouses, family members, those cohabiting, or parents. People in ongoing, substantial, intimate and romantic relationships are not included in Ohio’s definition. 

“The most dangerous moment for a victim of domestic violence is when they try to separate from their abuser,” said Sykes. “By modernizing Ohio’s domestic violence laws to include individuals in serious dating relationships, we can help victims in any abusive relationship access the recourse they need to end the cycle of violence.” 


05.13.16 - Sykes Helps Promote Bike Helmet Safety With Akron Families


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today joined the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Ohio AAP), Akron Councilwoman Veronica Sims and area families to raise awareness about the importance of bike helmet safety as a part of Bike Helmet Safety Awareness Week at the Helen Arnold Community Learning Center. 

“As young children first learn to ride a bicycle, it is essential that we teach them the importance of wearing a bike helmet for protection,” said Sykes. “I was proud to partner with the Ohio AAP to promote Bike Helmet Safety Awareness Week and help our children learn how to have fun and stay safe when riding a bike in their neighborhood.” 


05.12.16 - OLBC Calls On Kasich To Veto Local Hiring Ban Bill


The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) today called on Governor John Kasich to veto House Bill 180, saying the legislation to ban local hiring goals will disproportionately harm African American workers and minority communities while jeopardizing infrastructure projects in Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron and Cleveland. 


04.26.16 - Sykes Appointed To The Ohio Commission On Minority Health


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced her recent appointment to the Ohio Commission on Minority Health (OCMH). As a board member, Sykes will work to support the commission’s efforts to address health disparities among minority populations, including the infant mortality rate for African Americans. According to the Ohio Department of Health, African American babies die at roughly twice the rate of white babies in Ohio.


04.21.16 - Sykes, Democratic Lawmakers File Public Comment Opposing Proposed GOP Medicaid Restrictions


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), the lead Democratic member on the Health and Human Services House budget panel, today joined House Democratic lawmakers to file a formal protest with the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM), opposing proposed restrictions and additional barriers to healthcare for working poor Ohioans. 


04.15.16 - Sykes Announces Nearly $5 Million For Ten Community Projects


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced several important community projects will receive state support through the recently introduced capital budget. The release of nearly $5 million in state funds will help improve local infrastructure, revitalize art exhibitions and expand workforce development.  


04.12.16 - Sykes Introduces Bill To Reduce Ohio's Infant Mortality Rate


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the introduction of House Bill 514, legislation aimed at reducing Ohio’s high infant mortality rate. The bill will require health care professionals to complete instruction in cultural competency in order to receive or renew their license, certification or registration. 

“Requiring cultural competency training will help health care professionals better communicate with their patients, and in turn help reduce Ohio’s abysmal infant mortality rate,” said Sykes. “This legislation is a good first step to ensuring Ohio babies can live happier, healthier lives.”


04.06.16 - Rep. Sykes Disputes Kasich's Rosy State Of The State Claims


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today reacted to Governor Kasich’s State of the State address, saying that the reality on the ground for working people does not match the rosy picture painted by the governor Wednesday night in Marietta.


04.04.16 - Sykes: Summit County To Receive $350M In Highway Improvements This Year


With just over $350 million worth of state road construction planned in the Akron area this summer, State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today reminded drivers to slow down when traveling through construction zones. Last year, there were over 6,000 crashes in Ohio construction zones, resulting in 1,000 injuries and 30 fatalities.

“The upcoming highway construction projects, especially that realignment of the I-76 interchange, will be a major boost to our local economy and will greatly enhance the quality of life for motorists in Akron,” said Sykes. “I want to remind drivers to approach construction zones with caution in order to maintain safety for both themselves and the hard working construction professionals.”




03.30.16 - Sykes Gives Keynote Address To Kick Off Minority Health Month


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) recently gave the keynote address at The Ohio Commission on Minority Health’s (OCMH) Kickoff Event for Minority Health Month. The Akron lawmaker touched on various topics during her address, including how to best promote healthy lifestyles and the importance of educating Ohioans on how to proactively practice disease prevention. Most notably, Rep. Sykes highlighted the inequities in health outcomes between Ohio’s minority and non-minority populations.

“The Commission on Minority Health has done a wonderful job of combating health disparities during the past 28 years, but there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done,” said Sykes. “However, by working together, all of us – the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, the state legislature, our community healthcare providers and partners – can help close the gap in health outcomes for minority Ohioans.”


03.29.16 - Sykes Applauds Outcome Of Friedrichs SCOTUS Case


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today applauded the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court case Friedrichs vs. California, which challenged fair share fees for public non-union employees who benefit from collective bargaining negotiations that increase wages and bring better benefits and safety protections in the workplace. The court split 4-4, effectively preserving precedent requiring public employees to pay fair share fees for benefits associated with union representation.

“The purpose of unions is to give a voice to every employee—regardless of membership—because every American deserves to work in a safe and fair environment. I applaud the outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling that upholds our workers’ constitutional right to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions,” said Sykes.


03.28.16 - Democratic Lawmakers Applaud Lawsuit Against Ohio's "Pink Tax"


State Reps. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) and Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today applauded the filing of a lawsuit against Ohio for the sales tax on feminine hygiene products, also commonly called the “Pink Tax.” The class-action lawsuit argues that the “Pink Tax” violates equal protection laws because only women must use these products. Despite the U.S. Food and Drug administration classifying tampons and pads as medical devices, Ohio is one of many states that continue to tax feminine hygiene products.


03.15.16 - Sykes Announces $1.5M For Akron Community Organizations To Combat Infant Mortality


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and State Medicaid Director John McCarthy recently announced the release $1,555,177 in state funds for four community-based programs to address the city’s high infant mortality rate. 


03.10.16 - Democratic Lawmakers Propose Reducing Cost Of Everyday Essentials


State Reps. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) and Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) this week introduced House Bill 484, legislation to help working and middle class families make ends meet by reducing the cost of every essential items, such as feminine hygiene products, disposable baby diapers and non-prescription medications and drugs. 


02.23.16 - Rep. Sykes Honors Archbishop Hoban Student Athletes, Coaches At Statehouse For Title Wins


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today honored Archbishop Hoban High School football team and the girls soccer team on the floor during House session for winning state titles during the 2015 season. 

This past December, the Archbishop Hoban Knights football team won the Division III title, claiming the program’s first-ever state championship trophy. The girls soccer team also took home their first-ever Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Division II state championship title in November.  

“I am extremely proud of the hard work, dedication and perseverance of the coaches and players on both teams,” said Sykes. “The teams have set a wonderful example for their school, and for our community by showing that, through hard work, we can achieve our goals.” 


02.19.16 - Rep. Emilia Sykes Encourages Local College Grads To Apply For Paid Statehouse Fellowship


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-34) today announced the Ohio Legislative Service Commission is accepting applications for its 13-month Legislative and Telecommunications Fellowship Program. The Commission will hire 24 fellows to work with members of the Ohio General Assembly during 2017.

“The LSC fellowship program is a wonderful opportunity for recent graduates and young people to become a part of Ohio’s government,” said Sykes. “This program offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to be exposed to how state government works and the many ways it impacts the daily lives of Ohioans. I strongly encourage anyone who is interested to apply for this program.” 


02.03.16 - Sykes Offers Changes To Lessen Local Blow Of Proposed Local Hiring Ban


A House legislative panel today came one step closer to passing legislation, Senate Bill 152, that prohibits cities and other municipalities from setting minimum standards for hiring local residents for public works projects. The minimum residency standards, currently in place in cities and municipalities around the state, let qualified workers earn the opportunity to find rewarding employment in their own communities.

Some Ohio communities use local hiring requirements on publicly financed projects as a way to strengthen local workforce participation and, in turn, strengthen local economies. The City of Akron – currently in the midst of a $1.4 billion sewer system upgrade project – has a local hiring target of 30 percent, with that goal increasing to 50 percent by 2018.

“I am very disappointed that the legislature continues to ignore The City of Akron and our freedom to make decisions that get people back to work and stabilize our local economy,” said State Rep. Emilia Sykes. “My colleagues and I worked diligently to present alternatives that would employ city residents.”



01.29.16 - Rep. Sykes Responds To Husted Directive On Ballot Postmark Issues


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today responded to Secretary of State Husted’s recent directive on how boards of election should treat absentee ballots with missing postmarks, describing it a as step in the right direction but calling for implementation of more comprehensive controls to prevent voter disenfranchisement. 


01.21.16 - Rep. Sykes Calls For Letting Voters Correct Postmark Issues With Their Ballots


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) sent the below letter to Secretary Husted today urging him to notify voters of any postmark issues with their ballot and give voters the opportunity to correct any issue. Summit County saw unusually high numbers of ballot rejections last fall because of Ohio’s confusing law about postmarks.


01.20.16 - Rep. Sykes: Summit County Awarded State Grant To Combat Infant Mortality


Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) recently announced the approval of $105,000 in state funds to be released to the Akron Summit Community Action, Inc. for the creation of the Infant Mortality Pathways Hub Model Demonstration Replication Grant Program in Summit County. 


01.11.16 - Rep. Sykes: Akron-area Performing Arts Center To Undergo Renovations


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) announced today that the state approved $64,500 in funding for renovations to EJ Thomas Hall in Akron. The state funds will allow for interior and exterior renovations as well as a roof replacement for the long-standing arts and culture facility.


01.07.16 - Sykes Appointed To Bipartisan Constitutional Modernization Commission


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) this week was re-appointed to the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission. Sykes, along with Reps. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), Michael Curtin (D-Columbus), Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster), Bob Cupp (R-Lima), and Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) will consider ways to update and amend the current Ohio Constitution over the next year. 


12.09.15 - Rep. Sykes Hosts Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Community Town Hall


The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) made the third stop of its Legislative Action Tour at the Alpha Center in downtown Akron last week. State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) hosted the discussion, which drew dozens of community members and covered topics such as voting rights and criminal justice reform. OLBC members Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati), Rep. Christie Kuhns (D-Cincinnati) and Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) also attended the event. 


12.08.15 - Husted Heeds Democratic Lawmakers' Call To Investigate Uncounted Summit County Ballots


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and State Rep. and President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) responded today to Secretary of State Jon Husted’s announcement that his office is looking into the nearly 900 absentee ballots in Summit County that went uncounted this past election due to lack of postmarks. The Democratic lawmakers had previously called on the secretary of state to launch an investigation into the troubling postmark discrepancies that voided hundreds of votes. 


11.19.15 - Reps. Sykes, Reece Call For Statewide Investigation Into Voter Disenfranchisement Issues


State Rep. and President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC) Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) joined Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today in calling for a statewide investigation following troubling reports that hundreds of Akron voters had their absentee ballots voided because they lacked a postmark. 


10.20.15 - Sykes, Dem Lawmakers Push Back Against Proposed Restrictions That Defund, Limit Women's Access To Healthcare


Democratic state lawmakers and healthcare advocates took to the Ohio Statehouse steps this evening to push back against proposed restrictions that would defund and limit women’s access to healthcare in the Buckeye State. The event also drew hundreds of activists and supporters who donned pink glow-stick necklaces as a sign of solidarity.


10.14.15 - Reps. Sykes, Kuhns Push For Modernization Of Ohio Domestic Violence Laws


State Reps. Emilia Sykes (D–Akron) and Christie Kuhns (D-Cincinnati) today announced they are introducing legislation to modernize Ohio domestic violence laws. Their bill allows victims of domestic violence at the hands of an intimate partner to obtain civil protective orders against their attacker. 


09.23.15 - Rep. Sykes, Voting Rights Panel Discuss Youth Mobilization In D.C.


Last week, State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) joined voting rights experts and other young officials for the A. Leon Higginbotham Voting Rights Brain Trust at the 45th Annual Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference in Washington. The annual conference gathered thousands of advocates, legislators and participants from across the country to discuss many of the important contemporary issues facing blacks in America, including voting rights and political participation.

The Voting Rights Brain Trust, hosted by Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH 11th District), included Sykes as well as a number of other young officials, including Baltimore City State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams, NAACP Youth and College Division Director Sammie Dow, Rock the Vote President Ashley Spillane and Lawyer’s Committee National Coordinator for Legal Mobilization Aunna Dennis. The panel focused on recent voting rights laws as well as engaging youth in the political process.

During discussion on the best way to involve young people in the political process, Sykes highlighted the importance of strong mentorship. Speaking to the older, more experienced elected officials present, she said, “We want you to help us learn and get the information we need to know. If young people see us do it, they can model our behavior just like we’re trying to model your behavior.” 


08.31.15 - Rep. Sykes Announces State Funding To Evaluate Essential Workplace Safety Infrastructure


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the approval of $240,000 in state funds to conduct comprehensive evaluations and assessments of the pre-action fire sprinkler systems in certain government owned facilities. The Oliver R. Ocasek government office building in Akron will undergo a full evaluation by Prater Engineering Associates, a firm selected based on their years of experience with similar systems.


08.24.15 - Reps Sykes And Perales Tour Akron, Visit Sewer Project Site


State Representative Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) hosted Representative Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) last Friday for a tour around the city of Akron, including a site that is part of the city’s $1.4 billion sewer project.


08.24.15 - Rep. Sykes To Hold District Office Hours


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) will host district office hours TODAY, Monday, August 24 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Northwest Akron Branch of the Akron Public Library, 1720 Shatto Avenue, Akron, Ohio 44313.


08.18.15 - Rep. Sykes And Department Of Medicaid Host Community Forum To Discuss Infant Mortality Funding In State Budget


Last Thursday, State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and the Ohio Department of Medicaid held a forum with community members and activists to discuss ways to reduce the state’s high infant mortality rate. Attendees included nonprofits, faith-based organizations, all local hospital systems, and all five managed care organizations. State lawmakers set aside $13 million in the recent state budget to address infant mortality in Ohio, including a number of hotspots in the Akron area.


08.05.15 - Sykes Commemorates 50th Anniversary Of Voting Rights Act


Democratic legislators in both the House and Senate today announced resolutions commemorating the 50th anniversary of the federal Voting Rights Act. Passed in 1965 and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Voting Rights Act was a historic piece of civil rights legislation that guaranteed all Americans – regardless of race – the constitutional right to vote without unfair barriers. The honorary resolutions will be introduced by Reps. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) and Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) in the House and Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and Senator Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus) in the Senate. 

Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) released the following statement regarding the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act: 

“The Voting Rights Act made it possible for people of color to participate in American democracy. Since then, people of color have been elected to offices ranging from city council to president of the United States. Without the Voting Rights Act, large segments of the American population would not ever been able to voice their concerns through democratic government and we would never have seen the promise of "liberty and justice for all." I am grateful for all of the progress that we have seen over the past 50 years, and I am hopeful that we all will renew our commitment to preserving the essence of the law and refuse to go back to a time when Americans were prohibited from exercising their fundamental right to vote.”


08.05.15 - Rep. Sykes Encourages Ohio Families To Take Advantage Of Tax-free Shopping This Weekend


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced Ohio’s first-ever sales tax-free holiday scheduled for this weekend, August 7-9. The tax-free holiday runs Friday through Sunday and covers many back-to-school items, including clothing, school supplies and instructional materials. Not only will the temporary holiday help offset Ohio’s 4.5 percent sales tax increase enacted by the 2013 state budget, but for three days shoppers will pay no sales tax on itemized purchases as they prepare their children for the coming of the new school year.


08.04.15 - Rep. Sykes: State Should Focus On Fighting Roots Of Poverty, Not Demonizing Poor


State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) criticized today’s announcement of revived legislation from two Republican legislators to establish a pilot program to drug test state welfare recipients. 


06.30.15 - Sykes: Local Hiring Ban Axes Local Control, Sends Ohio Jobs Out Of State


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today expressed disappointment in the passage of House Bill 180, legislation that prohibits cities and other municipalities from setting minimum standards for hiring local residents for public works projects. The minimum residency standards, currently in place in cities and municipalities around the state, let qualified workers earn the opportunity to find rewarding employment in their own communities. 

“Facing a $1.4 billion unfunded mandate by the federal government to fix the sewer system, the City of Akron found a creative way to put its people back to work. The City of Akron instituted local hiring requirements so that people who are footing the bill for this project can reap the economic benefits,” said Sykes. “People want an opportunity to access the economic benefits from construction and other projects that are happening in their neighborhoods. There is no reason why local people should be excluded from job opportunities right in their own backyards.” 


06.05.15 - Sykes Applauds Administration's Backtrack On Healthcare Coverage For Pregnant Women


State Representative Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) released the following statement today in reaction to news that the Kasich administration has reversed course and will restore Medicaid coverage in the budget for low-income pregnant women:

“I am glad to know that the administration is finally waking up to the fact that Ohio’s infant mortality rate is indeed a public health crisis. I don’t know why the state ever pursued such misguided public policy in the first place, but I am pleased that the governor has done an about-face and now supports access to healthcare for expectant mothers,” said Sykes. “Restoring coverage for low-income pregnant women will help ensure babies are born happy and healthy and survive to see their first birthday.”


06.02.15 - Rep. Sykes: State's Move To 'ban-the-box' A Step Toward Fair Hiring Policies


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) applauded the state’s move to ‘ban-the-box’ on applications for Ohio civil service jobs. Beginning June 1, Ohioans who apply for civil service jobs will no longer be asked about prior felony convictions on job applications, making Ohio the twelfth state to ‘ban-the-box’ on state employment forms.


05.14.15 - Sykes Says Action Should Follow Declaration Of Infant Mortality As Public Health Crisis


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the Ohio House unanimously passed a resolution declaring the state’s infant mortality epidemic a public health crisis. Ohio leads the nation in African American infant deaths and is third highest in infant deaths in the nation.

“The actions of the House today remind this body, the legislature and the governor that it is time to get serious about reducing infant mortality in our state by using resources to drive our efforts and actions to give credence to our words,” said Sykes. “We missed an opportunity to do that in the state budget when access to healthcare coverage for low-income, pregnant mothers was suddenly taken away. I remain hopeful the House won’t make the same mistake twice.”


04.23.15 - $131.6 Billion State Budget Clears House With Attacks On Working Ohioans, Tax Cuts For Richest One-percent


Wednesday, State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Ohio House Democratic Caucus members stood in opposition to the state’s two-year budget proposal, House Bill 64. Democratic legislators said the bill failed to lay out a real plan for the future of the state and instead advanced partisan attacks on working Ohioans and policies that rig the tax system to help the richest one-percent and special interests.

Democrats offered several alternative proposals* that would have put more money in the pockets of middle class Ohioans, stopped attacks on working Ohioans, ensured equal pay for women, reduced the state’s sales tax and maintained access to healthcare for pregnant working mothers and women needing cancer treatment. The Democratic proposals were shot down along party lines.

“I am very disappointed that the Ohio House has decided against working families by passing this budget,” said Rep. Sykes. “I'm especially disappointed that an amendment I offered that would reduce Ohio's abysmal infant mortality rate was tabled. People say, ‘Show me your budget and I'll show you your priorities.’ The Ohio House showed us that working families, pregnant women, babies and an educated work force are not our priorities."


04.01.15 - Reps. Sykes, Johnson Applaud Veto Of Provision To Limit Students' Right To Vote


State Reps. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) and Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today applauded the Governor’s veto of a student voter suppression provision in House Bill 53, the state transportation budget.


03.16.15 - Rep. Sykes Says Renewed Effort To Prohibit Hiring Local Ohioans Could Hurt Minority Communities, Jeopardize Ohio Jobs


The Ohio Senate today reinstated a controversial restriction in the state transportation budget that would prohibit communities from requiring that public construction projects completed with state or federal money employ a minimum amount of local Ohioans.

The controversial prohibition returns to House Bill 53 after a House panel nixed the restriction that brought sharp criticism from Akron City officials, State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and other Democratic lawmakers. Sykes successfully drafted an amendment that removed the controversial language.

“This restriction could have a dangerous and untold reach into our urban communities which will disproportionately impact African Americans who remain unemployed at a rate three times higher than the state average,” said Rep. Sykes. “This could hurt local communities and jeopardize Ohio jobs, and we haven’t seen any information that says otherwise.”


02.24.15 - Rep. Sykes Discusses Residency Quotas During State Budget Hearings


Ohio House of Representatives hearings on the state’s budget proposal continued this week in Columbus as state agency heads offered testimony to members of the budget panel. State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) offered insight into the potential effects of eliminating a residency quota for contractors to fulfill while working on local construction projects.


02.18.15 - Reps. Sykes, Johnson Say Public Health Cuts Jeopardize Strength Of Ohio Families, Safety Of Mothers And Infants


Tuesday State Reps. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Greta Johnson (D-Akron), with House Democratic lawmakers and healthcare advocates, discussed policies in the state budget that would limit pregnancy care, family planning and breast and cervical cancer treatment for lower income Ohioans. The changes in healthcare coverage are being proposed as Ohio ranks second highest in the nation for infant mortality. 


01.28.15 - Sykes To Urge Congressional Reauthorization For Children's Health Insurance Program


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced she will soon introduce a resolution urging Congress to protect Ohio’s children and families by reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 


01.22.15 - Sykes To Serve On Ohio House Legislative Panels


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the committees on which she will serve to help shape and refine public policy. 


01.15.15 - Sykes Supports Efforts In Fight Against Human Trafficking


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) applauded the awareness raised by today’s sixth annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day at the Ohio Statehouse. The event, organized by State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), brings together law enforcement officials, advocates and survivors from all over the nation for a day of discussion on ways to raise awareness and fight back against human trafficking in Ohio.


01.15.15 - Rep. Emilia Sykes To Lead House Democrats On Legislative Panel


State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) Monday was named Finance Committee’s Health & Human Services Subcommittee Ranking Member, the House Minority’s highest ranking official on the legislative panel.


01.06.15 - Emilia Sykes Sworn In As State Representative


Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) was sworn in to the Ohio House of Representatives Monday as State Representative for the 34th House District in a Statehouse ceremony with her colleagues. Sykes, elected to her first House term in November, will serve the citizens of North and West Akron, parts of East and South Akron and small sections of Cuyahoga Falls and Bath Township.