Hearcel F. Craig (D-Columbus) brings a strong background of public service to the Statehouse as he serves in his first term as state Senator following two two-year terms as state Representative. He also serves as Assistant Minority Whip for the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus.
Craig’s commitment to the residents of Columbus began decades ago when he worked as legislative liaison for the Ohio Department of Youth Services. During his tenure at ODYS, Craig drafted legislation and secured legislative sponsorship for bills introduced in the Ohio General Assembly, including legislation which secured $83 million for much needed capital improvements to ODYS facilities.
Craig continued his work with young people when he served as director of recruitment & admissions for City Year, a program that recruits young adults to work full-time for one year on various social service projects around Columbus.
As former executive director of the Hilltop Civic Council, Craig managed a comprehensive social service agency that served 10,000 people annually in one of Columbus’ historic neighborhoods. Directing the Hilltop Civic Council’s 35-person staff and administering its $1.2 million annual budget, Craig supervised programs for a comprehensive community health care center, youth and senior services, a resettlement center for new Americans and a food and clothing pantry.
Later elected as a Columbus City Councilmember, Craig led the city’s Veterans Affairs Committee to help meet the needs of veterans, service personnel and their families. He has worked to connect veterans with existing services and resources in the community and created new initiatives like the Better Municipal Care for Veterans Home Fund, which helps veterans and their families make needed repairs to their homes. Craig also served as the chair of the Recreation, Public Utilities, Health & Human Services and Judiciary committees.
During the past three decades, Craig has volunteered his time as a trustee on numerous community service boards, many focused on education. He has served as a member of the Columbus Public Schools Equity Task Force, the Columbus State Community College Department of Business and Industry Technology Curriculum Committee, the Southside Learning and Development Center’s Board of Trustees, the Ohio Hunger Task Force Board of Trustees and the Columbus Cultural Arts Center Board of Trustees. He recently served on the board of the Military Veterans Resource Center. Craig also served as board chair for the Alliance for Cooperative Justice, board chair for the Franklin County Prevention Institute and chair of the State Education Committee for the Columbus Chapter of the NAACP. Craig was named the 2011 Public Servant of the Year by Community Shares of Mid-Ohio.
Senator Craig earned a Master of Science in Administration degree from Central Michigan University and was a Join Together National Leadership Fellow at Boston University School of Public Health. Craig pursued a Graduate Studies degree in Theology from Ashland Theological Seminary and is a graduate of Leadership Columbus and Leadership Ohio. He proudly served our nation in the United States Army from 1970-1972.
Senator Craig is eager to use his public service experience to produce meaningful investments in our neighborhoods that help create jobs and expand the local economy.
Senator Craig serves on the following committees and commissions: