PHOTO & STORY BY JERRY MASEK
PHOTO CAPTION: New District 23 State Senator Nickie J. Antonio was sworn in Dec. 22 in a ceremony at the Brooklyn Senior Center. Her wife, Jean Kosmac, holds a copy of The Woman’s Bible. The ceremony was officiated by Judge Melody Stewart of the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals, who joins the Ohio Supreme Court in January. About 100 people attended the ceremony.
The past week has been a roller coaster for District 13 State Representative Nickie J. Antonio.
On Saturday, she stood before 100 supporters, was sworn in for a new job, and talked with energy and enthusiasm about her plans for the future. On Tuesday, she celebrated the holidays with her wife, Jean Kosmac, and their two adult children, Ariel and Stacey. On Wednesday, she returned to Columbus to participate in a year-end flurry of legislation in the General Assembly.
On Jan. 7, when she returns to Columbus to begin work as the new District 23 State Senator, she will be the first woman to represent District 23, and the first member of the LGBT community ever elected to the State Senate.
District 23 includes West Park, Lakewood, Linndale, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, Brook Park, Parma, Parma Heights, Middleburg Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, Cleveland Wards 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, and parts of Wards 3, 12 and 14.
The Senate District is 3 times larger than House District 13, where Antonio served four terms (2011-2018) and was the Minority Whip for the last two-year term. As a State Senator, she is limited to two consecutive four-year terms.
Looking forward to 2019
Antonio said her legislative agenda includes several areas with special meaning for West Park taxpayers.
Jobs: Small businesses are “the backbone of the community,” Antonio said. She wants to help build “the right climate to bring good-paying jobs to the district.” This includes pushing for infrastructure repair funds to fix roads and bridges and create new jobs.
Education: Antonio, a former teacher, says “We need to reduce high-stakes testing for kids. The kids are stressing out over the tests. Instead, they should be happy and excited about going to school.” She also wants to make schools have “more fair and robust funding.”
Healthy communities: “I want to work on decreasing the infant mortality rate and the maternal mortality rate. We’re losing too many mothers in the first year after the birth of their child.”
Antonio is looking forward to working with another Democrat, Representative Bride Rose Sweeney of West Park. The Democrats are in a minority in both chambers of the General Assembly, and Antonio stresses bi-partisanship as a way to keep legislation moving on meaningful items.
In May, Antonio defeated Martin Sweeney in the primary, and in November, she was elected to State Senate. Her past jobs prepared her well for that role.
From 2006-2010, Antonio served 5 years on Lakewood City Council, and then studied leadership in State and Local Government one summer at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.
From 1996-2011, she served as President of StAr Communication Consulting, working with non-profit groups in a variety of areas. She stepped down to become a full-time State Legislator. She has also worked as a special education teacher, and during the 1990s, was a non-profit executive director of a women’s outpatient treatment drug/alcohol treatment program.
A graduate of Lutheran West High School, she has two degrees from Cleveland State University — a Bachelors in Special Education and Training, and a Masters of Public Administration, with a focus in Public Policy Analysis and Organizational Development.
She also serves on the Community Engagement Committee for the Beck Center for the Arts and is involved in a number of legislative leadership organizations.
How to contact Nickie Antonio, after Jan. 1, 2019:
Send e-mail to email@example.com
For overall Senate info, go to www.ohiosenate.gov
For more specific info, go to www.ohiosenate.gov/senators/antonio
During much of the year, legislators meet in Columbus on Tuesday through Thursday and spend long weekends in their home districts.