State Representative Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) of the 14th District was appointed to represent constituents in Brook Park, Parma Heights, and Cleveland Wards 19, 20 and 21 in May of 2006. Voters then formally elected him to continue his work at the Statehouse in November 2006 and in November 2008.
Rep. Foley earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Dayton and his law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He has used that education to defend the rights of Ohioans, especially in the area of housing.
As a community organizer for the St. Clair-Superior Coalition in the mid-1980’s, Rep. Foley was responsible for block club organizing in the neighborhood and managing its safety. His work with homeowners and tenants in fighting absentee landlords resulted in developing a unified neighborhood housing preservation strategy. Efforts under his leadership also led the courts to sentence at least one landlord to live in his own rundown apartments.
Rep. Foley’s passion for housing issues kept defining his career. He served as field representative for Cleveland’s Community Relations Board. He then moved to the Cleveland Municipal Housing Court, where he worked as court administrator, a personal bailiff and a judicial clerk. Upon joining the Ohio Bar in 1996, Rep. Foley returned to the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law’s Housing Law Clinic as an instructor.
The Cleveland Tenants Organization noticed Rep. Foley’s impressive resume in the housing arena and hired him in 1997. He worked there for nine years, eventually becoming the organization’s executive director. He preserved and strengthened one of the most respected housing rights organization in the country. Under his watch, the CTO worked with thousands of families to save them from being displaced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Rep. Foley’s work helped bring in more than $160 million in affordable housing construction and renovation, performed by union labor. He also organized the largest rent strike in Ohio history at Columbia Park Manufactured Home Park, when out-of-state landlords bought the park and raised senior citizen rents by 25 percent.
As an attorney, Rep. Foley successfully represented victims of the first predatory lending cases in Cuyahoga County in the late 1990’s. He continues to help victims of security deposit scams and families hurt by lead-based paint.
Rep. Foley serves as Chairman of the Ohio House Housing Urban Revitalization Committee. He is a member of the Alternative Energy Committee, the Civil and Commercial Law Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.
In his tenure in the General Assembly, Rep. Foley has worked on issues including foreclosures, alternative energy, the environment, cable deregulation, retiree benefits, consumer rights and tax code reform.
Rep. Foley and his wife Chris have four children: Claire, Tom, Kevin and Matt. He says his family has taught him all of his skills in high-pressure negotiations.