“I’m running for the United States Congress because working families need a fighter who isn’t afraid to stand up to the powerful and well connected who want us to sit down and embrace the status quo. Instead, I’ll go to Washington to stand up for jobs, for affordable healthcare and quality education, all while embracing bipartisan cooperation—it’s something that I’ve already done here in Ohio and I can take that experience with me to DC… I learned from a young age the values of hard work, never to give up, and that public service means standing up for others because it’s the right thing to do, not because it serves your politics.”
Campaign Announcement, 1/18/22
“It’s been said we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. For me, the shoulders on which I stand include Helen Rankin; now-congresswoman Joyce Beatty, the first woman to be elected Ohio House Democratic leader; and of course, my mother, the first Black woman to serve on Akron City Council at-large, Barbara Sykes. Their leadership in Ohio has blazed a trail for all women but especially for Black women and women of color. Their path wasn’t easy, but they made it more bearable for those of us who followed.
So, to all the women who have ever been the first, thank you for not being the last. This girl from Akron certainly appreciates you.” Akron Beacon Journal, 10/14/21
Emelia Sykes was born and raised in Akron and has a BA from Kent State University and a JD and Master of Public Health from the University of Florida. She served as an administrative staff adviser in the Summit County Fiscal Office where she worked to create a county land bank to repurpose vacant and abandoned properties. She was Law Clerk to the Chief Judge of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Georgia office.
Sykes has served as an Ohio legislator since 2015. She has been Assistant Whip, Whip, and Minority Leader. As a Representative,
Sykes has pushed an aggressive job creation plan, fighting to keep local jobs for local workers and to expand opportunities for middle- and working-class families in Akron. Under her leadership, Democrats secured historic investments to improve public transit systems across the state, rebuild Ohio’s roads and bridges, and expand affordable broadband access.
Rep. Sykes and her Democratic colleagues worked together to pass a targeted tax cut for working- and middle-class families, increase wages for teachers and direct care service providers, and continue to fight for a higher minimum wage and safer working conditions for Ohioans.
ON THE ISSUES
• Supports infrastructure investment to “see necessary improvements in water quality, infrastructure and safety, while also easing access to educational opportunities, housing, and affordable health care…vital to building a stronger economy.”
• Introduced legislation identifying and addressing issues that impact women’s advancement including health, economic, educational, and other inequities.
• ”I’m running for Congress to advocate on behalf of Ohio’s families... I’ve made it my mission to keep jobs in our state & to expand opportunities for all in NE Ohio- not just the wealthy and well-connected.” (Twitter 1/18/22)
• During her first year as minority leader, despite serving in the minority, the percentage of bipartisan bills passed was nearly double each of the previous two legislative sessions.
Sykes' work on domestic violence issues earned bipartisan praise and resulted in legislation, Ohio HB1, to protect the safety and security of people in violent relationships. It was the priority piece of legislation in the 132nd General Assembly.
POLITICS IN OHIO
As a result of the 2020 Census, Ohio redistricting is strongly favorable to Republicans.
Madison Gilbert won Ohio 13’s Republican primary in early May. She is a small business owner, attorney, and television commentator who worked on Trump’s two Presidential campaigns as an advisor to the National Diversity Coalition for Trump and as an ambassador for the America First Policy Institute.
Ohio has long been a key battleground state in Presential elections until Trump’s 8% margin of victory in 2020. Ohio is trending increasingly Republican with a strong MAGA influence as demonstrated by JD Vance’s victory in the recent contentious Republican primary.