Senator Vernon Sykes is currently serving his first term in the Ohio State Senate, representing the 28th district. The 28th district includes: Akron, Barberton, Coventry, Green, Lakemore, Mogadore, Springfield, Tallmadge, and portions of Bath and Cuyahoga Falls.
Senator Sykes has dedicated much of his life to public service. He previously served in Akron City Council and the Ohio House of Representatives. Since 2001, Dr. Sykes has passed along his experience in public service to students as a professor of Political Science and Director of the Columbus Program in State Issues at Kent State University.
During his time in office, Senator Sykes has worked to improve life for ordinary Ohioans. He’s fought passionately to expand access to early childhood education and make higher education more affordable. He’s also passed bipartisan legislation to fight child abuse and prevent housing discrimination against people with disabilities.
Senator Sykes is a longtime advocate for redistricting reform. As a Representative, his efforts led to a successful ballot initiative to redraw Ohio’s state legislative districts in a bipartisan manner. Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved the ballot initiative in November 2015. Senator Sykes believes districts drawn in a fairer way give Ohioans more choices, which better reflect their needs at the Statehouse.
His dedication to his constituents earned him several leadership positions while a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. He served as Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Chair of the House Finance & Appropriations Committee, Chair of the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, Co-Chair of the Ohio Constitution Modernization Committee, and Co-Chair of the Budget Planning & Management Commission. He was also honored to be chosen as President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.
He has been the recipient of several distinguished awards throughout his career. This includes the 2012 “Public Elected Official of the Year award” from the National Association of Social Workers and the 2015 “Champion for Working Families & Civil Rights Award” from the Ohio AFL-CIO.
Dr. Sykes earned his B.B.A. in Management and Organizational Behavior from Ohio University. He also holds a Masters of Social and Applied Economics from Wright State University and a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University. He later earned a Ph.D. in Public Administration from the University of Akron.
Senator Sykes is married to Barbara Sykes, State Director of AARP. They have two daughters, Stancy and Emilia, and two Grandchildren, Hugh and Hope.