Skip to main content

Nickie J. Antonio Biography

Senator Nickie J. Antonio serves the people of Senate District 23

State Senator Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) is honored to represent District 23 and serve as Minority Leader in the Ohio Senate. Antonio, who was first elected to the Senate in 2018 and again in 2022, previously spent eight years in the Ohio House of Representatives representing District 13. Antonio has previously worked as a Lakewood City Councilmember, Executive Director of an outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program for women, Adjunct Professor and a teacher for children with special needs.

In addition to her role as Minority Leader, Antonio serves as Ranking Member on the Senate Health and Transportation Committees. She also sits on the Rules and Reference, Joint Legislative Ethics Committees and Legislative Service Commission and has experience on the Senate Finance; Ways and Means; and Workforce and Higher Education Committees. Additionally, she is a member of the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus, previously as chair, and is the State Director for the National Women Legislators’ Lobby.

She has been a dedicated champion of workers’ rights, high-quality education, local governments, equal rights for women and the LGBTQ+ community, health care for all and fighting the opioid crisis. Antonio has received numerous awards for outstanding legislative leadership, including the Cleveland State University Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award from the Maxine Levin College of Urban Affairs and the 2019 ACAR J. Howard Battle Equal Opportunity in Housing Award from the Akron/Cleveland Association of Realtors. A full list of Senator Antonio’s awards can be found here.

Antonio is recognized in the General Assembly as a leader who reaches across the aisle to get things done and an established expert in health policy. She championed Ohio’s historic adoption open records law and step therapy reform law, as well as passed legislation abolishing the shackling of pregnant inmates and requiring pharmacist education for dispensing life-saving naloxone. During her tenure, Antonio has introduced the Ohio Fairness Act in every General Assembly since 2011, which would provide civil rights protections for members of the LGBTQ+ community. She continues to work to end Ohio’s use of the death penalty, as well as on many other bills to improve the lives of all Ohioans.

Antonio has made a number of historic firsts in the Ohio General Assembly. In 2010, she became the first member of the LGBTQ+ community ever elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in the 208-year history of the Ohio General Assembly. She was also the first LGBTQ+ member to hold a leadership position when she was elected Minority Whip in the 131st General Assembly. In 2018, she became the first woman to hold the Senate District 23 seat and the first member of the LGBTQ+ community ever elected to the Ohio Senate. She continues historic firsts with her Senate leadership position of Minority Whip, followed by Assistant Minority Leader in 2021, and current position of Minority Leader.

The first in her family to graduate from college, she holds both an M.P.A. and a B.S. Ed. from Cleveland State University. She was named a CSU Distinguished Alumni in 2013. She is also an alumnus of the Bohnett Fellow of the Kennedy School Harvard Leadership Program (2011).

Her daughters, Ariel and Stacey, have made Antonio and her wife, Jean Kosmac, very proud as the girls engage in their adult life journeys.