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Thomas West Biography

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Representative Thomas West serves the people of House District 49

House Assistant Minority Leader Thomas West serves Ohio’s 49th House District. Known as the “Grind 49”, House District 49 comprises a portion of Stark County, including the cities of Canton, Plain Township, and most of Jackson Township. Prior to his election to the state legislature, Rep. West served as a Canton City Council member for 13 years.

On the Canton City Council, West served as Chairman of the Grants & Downtown Committee, Canton Annexation Committee, the Public Safety & Thoroughfares Committee, and the Judiciary Committee. He also served on several Canton City Council Committees as a committee member, including the Parks & Recreation Committee, the Community & Economic Development Committee, the Environmental & Public Utilities Committee, the Community Improvement Corporation Committee, and the Special Improvement Committee. During his 13 years of public service on the Canton City Council, Rep. West had the opportunity to work on a variety of issues, including issues surrounding individuals, families, neighborhoods, and small businesses.  Through these experiences, he realized that investing in community is critical to the vitality of the area and its people. 

Before his election to City Council, Rep. West worked as a mental health professional for over 25 years. He has consistently worked to better his community in his capacity as a licensed social worker, advocate, agency founder, and program administrator. The efforts and strides that he took to improve his community gained recognition on both the local and national level. His experience as a social worker has allowed him to bring a new and unique perspective to the state legislature, and his service to his community demonstrates his passion for ensuring that people have the tools and opportunities to live a life of dignity.

During his 6 years as a State Representative Rep. West has worked across the aisle to pass several pieces of bipartisan legislation, including bills that will train EMS workers to properly handle patients with dementia, requiring police video interrogations for major crimes, establish a Children’s Behavioral Healthcare Network and, most notably, his nationally acclaimed legislation addressing lowering prescription drug cost through drug increased transparency and accountability of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM’s). Rep. West has also been recognized as the 2022 State Legislator of the Year for the State of Ohio Area Agency on Aging and regionally as the Harry Stern Direction Home Area Agency on Aging Legislator of the Year. He also received the 2022 Real Estate Investor Legislator of the Year Award, and was recognized by NFIB: Small Business and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce as the 2021 Champion of Business.

In January 2022, Rep. Thomas West assumed the position of House Assistant Minority Leader after a unanimous vote amongst the Minority Caucus. Since assuming this role, Rep. West has worked diligently with House Minority Leader Allison Russo in working across the aisle while ensuring that the minority party has a voice in the legislature.

Rep. West has served on several committees in the Ohio House, including the House Health & Finance Committees, and he the current Ranking Member of the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee and Ranking Member of the Finance Health and Human Services Sub-Committee. In addition to his service as a State Representative, he is the former President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, Vice President of the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood, Vice Chair of the Police Training Funding Commission, and a current member of the Ohio Advisory Council on Aging, the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission, and the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board

Rep. West earned a Bachelors and Masters of Social Work from the University of Akron after four years studying Business Administration and earning NCAA All American Honors in Track & Field at Mount Union College.

Rep. West and his wife have two children both in college and reside in Canton, Ohio.