Senator Hearcel F. Craig’s extensive background in public service helped propel him to serve the constituents of the 15th Senate District by being elected to the Ohio Senate in November 2018. He serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee and the Senate Insurance Committee. Senator Craig also serves on the Senate Energy and Public Utilities; Finance; Financial Institutions and Technology; General Government Budget; and Rules and Reference committees. Additionally, Senator Craig serves as sergeant-at-arms for the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.
Craig’s career as a public servant for the City of Columbus began decades ago when he worked as a legislative liaison for the Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS). During his tenure at ODYS, Craig drafted legislation and secured legislative sponsorship for bills introduced in the Ohio General Assembly. Notably, one of the pieces of legislation he helped bring to fruition was H.B. 812, which secured $83 million for much-needed capital improvements to ODYS facilities. Craig expanded his commitment to the community by working to improve the lives of young people. He did this by serving as the 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 a result of his efforts, City Year corps members can receive valuable training and leadership skills that will benefit them later in their professional lives.
As the former Executive Director of the Hilltop Civic Council, Inc., he managed a comprehensive social service agency that served approximately 10,000 people annually in one of Columbus’ historic neighborhoods. During this time, he helped the Hilltop Civic Council’s 35-person staff administer its $1.2 million annual budget. This budget included initiatives such as program supervision for a comprehensive community health care center, youth and senior services, a resettlement center for new Americans and a food and clothing pantry.
While serving as a Columbus City councilmember, Craig was named President Pro Tempore. Craig had the honor of chairing committees that dealt with the city’s infrastructure, such as the Public Service & Transportation Committee, Small & Minority Business Development Committee and the Recreation & Parks Committee. Additionally, Craig had the opportunity to chair committees that allowed him to interact directly with the people of Columbus. These committees included the Health & Human Services Committee and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, where he continued advocating for the wellbeing of the community while meeting the needs of veterans, service personnel and their families. He worked tirelessly to connect veterans with existing services and resources in the community and created new initiatives, such as the Better Municipal Care for Veterans Home Fund, which helps veterans and their families make needed repairs to their homes. Since the beginning of his career, Craig’s priorities as a public servant have included creating access to a wide range of programs and services that enhance the quality of life for children, families, veterans and seniors. Commitment to these values still remain his number one priority.
Over the past three decades, Craig has volunteered his time as a trustee on numerous community service boards, many of which were centered on education. He is a lifetime member of the NAACP. Senator Craig is currently a member of National Black Caucus of State Legislators, a member of the Executive Committee and Co-Chair of the Education Committee of the Midwest Legislative Conference and serves on the Advisory Board of the Chamberlain School of Nursing. He has served as a member of the Columbus Public Schools Equity Task Force, the Columbus State Community College Department of Business, 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 previously served on the board of the Military Veterans Resource Center. Craig also served as board chair for the Alliance for Cooperative Justice, the Franklin County Prevention Institute, and the State Education Committee for the Columbus Chapter of the NAACP. Additionally, Senator Craig has also completed Leadership Columbus, Leadership Ohio and the Ohio Executive Institute.
In 2011, Craig was presented with the Public Servant of the Year award by Community Shares of Mid-Ohio. In 2015, Craig had the distinguished honor of being inducted into the Military Order of the Purple Heart for his continuous support of veterans. Additionally, Senator Craig was presented with the AMVETS Department of Ohio 2016 Legislator of the Year award.
Senator Craig is eager to continue his commitment to public service so he can make meaningful investments in our neighborhoods, as well as create jobs and expand the local economy.
Senator Craig earned a Master of Science in Administration degree from Central Michigan University. He also studied at Ashland Theological Seminary as part of their Master of Divinity program and was a Join Together National Leadership Fellow at Boston University School of Public Health. He proudly served our nation in the United States Army from 1970 – 1972.
Senator Craig and his wife, Linda, are the proud parents of four children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Senator Craig serves on the following Committees, special committees, councils and boards: