Elected Officials > State House – Democratic Minority Leadership – 133rd General Assembly

State House - Democratic Minority Leadership - 133rd General Assembly

The Ohio House of Representatives Minority Leadership Team.  The minority caucus is comprised of the party with the fewest members represented. Each session, members of the minority caucus select a slate of leaders, headed by the minority leader.

Minority Leader - Representative Fred Strahorn
- District 39

House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn returned to the Ohio House in 2013, after serving as State Senator for the 5th district from 2009 to 2011 and Senior Political Advisor to the Ohio Democratic party from 2011RepFStrahorn - Photo to 2013.

He previously served citizens of the greater Dayton area as state representative from 2001 to 2008, including two years as House Minority Whip, before term limits prevented him from seeking reelection.

Leader Strahorn has served as vice president of government affairs for the Ohio United Way, in addition to managing residential properties and selling real estate.

His civic experiences have included serving on boards of Wright State University, Wesley Community Center, Mary Scott Nursing Home, Childcare Works, Wegerzyn Gardens Foundation, and he is a former member of the Southwest Dayton Business Association and the Dayton Area Board of Realtors.

Strahorn graduated from The Ohio State University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Aviation Management.

He is a member of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church and his greatest joy in life is his daughter Morgan Allison Strahorn.

Contact Representative Fred Strahorn:
77 S. High St
14th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone (614) 466-1607
Fax      (614) 719-6967 
Email Representative Strahorn

Minority Whip - Representative Emilia Strong Sykes - District 34

Born and raised in Akron, State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes was elected to represent her hometown (OH-34) in November 2014. With a strong sense of responsibility for the well-being of those that she serves, Sykes has tackled the challenges of her district with unmatched passion and dedication. Sykes also serves in House Democratic leadership as the minority whip, a position to which she was elected by her colleagues.RepESykes - Photo

As a representative, Sykes has pushed an aggressive job creation plan, fighting to keep local jobs for local workers and expand opportunities for middle and working class families in Akron. Rep. Sykes understands the importance of a quality education and job training for people to get ahead. She has supported young leadership and mentorship programs to inspire young people to reach their goals.

Rep. Sykes has also worked with healthcare professionals and colleagues to improve public health, increase access to care, and combat Ohio’s high infant mortality rate. Her passion for social justice extends to issues such as voter rights, criminal justice reform, a more efficient social safety net for struggling Ohioans, and an end to domestic violence. Sykes' work on domestic violence issues has earned bipartisan praise and resulted in her legislation to protect people in dating relationships, House Bill 1, becoming law.

Sykes previously served as Administrative Staff Advisor at the Summit County Fiscal Office, where she worked to establish a county land bank to repurpose vacant and abandoned properties. At Community Legal Services in Akron, Sykes offered access to quality health and legal services to people in need. She also served as  Law Clerk to the Chief Judge of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Georgia.

Sykes attended Kent State University, graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. in Psychology. She later attended the University of Florida, where she earned a Juris Doctor with a Certificate in Family Law from the Levin College of Law and a Masters of Public Health from the College of Public Health and Health Professions.

As a student Sykes began her studies on women’s access to healthcare and investigated major issues at crisis pregnancy centers here in Ohio. In law school, she volunteered with the Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Clinic to educate women and girls about domestic violence and how to form positive relationships. From these experiences, Rep. Sykes continues to place issues affecting girls and woman at the forefront of her policy agenda.

Contact Representative Emilia Strong Sykes:
77 S. High St 
14th Floor 
Columbus, OH 43215 
Phone (614) 466-3100 
Fax      (614) 719-6944 
Email Representative Sykes

Minority Whip – Representative Brigid Kelly – District 31

Born and raised in Norwood, Rep. Brigid Kelly learned early on the importance of a strong community. 

Brigid attended Saint Ursula Academy, earned an undergraduate degree from Xavier University, and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati.  As a former city council member in Norwood andRepBKelly - Photo current representative for men and women at the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Brigid wants to build on the experience she’s gained from both her professional and personal life to help improve the lives of everyday Ohioans. 

For over a decade Brigid has been fighting for members of UFCW, their families, and our communities.  She works on a daily basis for issues like good wages, affordable health care benefits, and safe places to work. 

As state representative, Brigid Kelly is focused on ensuring that our children are receiving the best education by making investments in local schools, holding corporations accountable for taxpayer investments, and pursuing policies important to families, like paid sick and family leave. 

Brigid believes it’s getting harder to support a family, not easier. That’s why she puts families first and politics last to build a better Ohio.

Contact Representative Kelly:
77 S. High ST 
10th Floor 
Columbus, OH 43215 
Phone (614) 466-5786 
Fax      (614) 719-3585 
Email Representative Kelly

Assistant Minority Whip - Kent Smith - District 8

State Rep. Kent Smith was first elected to serve the people of the 8th Ohio House District in 2014 and was re-elected in 2016.  He joined the Ohio House of Representatives after serving Euclid, Ohio as a Member of the Euclid Board of Education from 2002 – 2013.  In his 12 years on the Euclid School Board, Kent never missed a meeting.  As a Euclid School Board Member, he was a four-time winner of the “Award of Achievement” which is awarded annually by the Ohio School Boards Association to less than three percent of all School Board Members in Ohio.

Smith graduated from Miami University and earned his Master of Science in Urban Studies from ClevelandRepKSmith - Photo State University in 2001. His Master’s Degree thesis - which was written in 2001 - was about the emerging threat of Predatory Lending and the Subprime Market. He also co-authored the first Predatory Lending Report by Policy Matters Ohio in 2002.  Following his Master’s Degree studies, he was a PhD student at Cleveland State University in Economic Development.

In his current term (2017 – 2018) in the Ohio House of Representatives, he serves as the Ranking Democrat on the Financial Institutions, Housing and Urban Development Committee.  He also is a committee member on the Education and Career Readiness Committee, the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee and the Public Utilities Committee. 

In his first term (2015-2016), Smith was the Ranking Democrat on the Economic and Workforce Development Committee.  He also served on the Financial Institutions, Housing and Urban Development Committee, the House Education Committee and the Public Utilities Committee. 

In 2017, he was one of three Ohio State Reps, and one of 37 overall, to receive a fellowship for the 2017 Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development conducted by the Council of State Governments (CSG) at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Additionally, he serves as the Ohio Lead in the Ohio House for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators and on three multi-state legislative caucuses; CSG’s Great Lakes Legislative Caucus, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Labor and Economic Development Standing Committee and the NCSL Task Force on Cyber Security.

Smith serves as the Policy Chair for the Ohio House Democratic Caucus, where he works with members and organizations to research and draft legislation that furthers the caucus’ priorities of middle-class job growth, economic stability for Ohio families, strong public education, clean energy and increased opportunities for working people to get ahead in the Buckeye State.

Since 2006, Representative Smith has been the head of the Euclid Democratic Party – a position called the Euclid City Democrat Leader.  In addition, he works as a roller derby announcer for both Burning River Roller Derby in Cleveland and The Chicago Outfit.  He joined Burning River in 2008 and The Chicago Outfit in 2010.  He has announced roller derby for the past 11 years and has called hundreds of bouts across the Midwest.  In 2018, he was one of 15 American roller derby voices selected to help announce the 2018 Roller Derby World Cup in Manchester, England.

Prior to joining the Ohio General Assembly, Representative Smith worked for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Office, which included an assignment with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and at four Northeast Ohio nonprofit organizations.

He is eager to use his unique perspective and professional experience to improve the quality of life for the people of the 8th Ohio House District and working families across the state.

Contact Representative Smith:
77 S. High St
10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone (614) 466-5441
Fax      (614) 719-0008 
Email Representative Smith, K.

Ohio Democratic House Caucus – 614.280.1835