Meet Emilia

State Representative Emilia Sykes: Your Ohio House Minority Leader

Minority Leader Emilia Sykes is honored to be representing her neighbors in a district she loves and leading the Democratic House Caucus for the 133rd General Assembly. Emilia is more than a state representative. She is someone you can trust to get the job done, someone who truly cares about our community and who will work across the aisle to accomplish progress for all Ohioans.

Her Mission

Our district, the one you elected her to represent, faces great challenges. We have too many working families who are playing by the rules but still struggle to make ends meet every month. Previously, Emilia served on the House Finance Committee, the panel that controls our state budget, where she fought to not just help Ohioans get by, but get ahead.

Emilia is passionate about improving health care for members of our community and all Ohioans. She cares deeply about our state’s infant mortality crisis, continuing adequate support for Medicaid and supporting our state’s children and elderly. Emilia fought for these issues daily as the Ranking Minority Member on the House Finance Subcommittee on Health and Human Services and as a member of the Health and Aging Committee.

Emilia also served as a member of the Ways and Means Committees and was appointed to the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission.

Her Background

Born and raised in Akron, Emilia and her sister grew up learning about the importance of public service. Her parents, Vernon and Barbara Sykes, have dedicated their lives to giving back to their community. Both served as elected leaders and instilled in Emilia the value of giving back to those in need. Seeing her parents make positive changes for the Akron community was inspiring and set an example she continues to emulate.



Emilia’s parents also emphasized the importance of education. Emilia graduated magna cum laude from Kent State University with a B.A. in Psychology. Four years later, she earned her J.D. with a Certificate in Family Law from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. The same year, Emilia earned her Master of Public Health from the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions.


Emilia continues to be a passionate voice for her community as the House Minority Leader and is constantly working to improve our Akron community for all Ohioans.


Proven Leadership

Minority Leader Bipartisanship

When House Democrats say ‘we work for you’, they aren’t talking about working for lobbyists or special interest groups, they mean they work for YOU, the Ohio taxpayer. As Minority Leader, Emilia has worked with the Democratic Caucus and colleagues across the aisle in passing more Democrat-sponsored bills during this General Assembly than in either of the previous two complete General Assemblies. Leader Sykes worked to increase transparency in state government by ensuring all House committee hearings are live streamed and broadcast to the public, making the People’s House more accessible than ever.

Black Maternal Health Caucus

In 2019, Leader Sykes joined colleagues to form the nation’s first Black Maternal Health Caucus, dedicated to improving Black maternal health outcomes across the state. Ohio has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the country, and it’s even higher for Black women and babies. The work done by this caucus will create healthier, safer communities for every Ohioan, regardless of their background.

We Belong Here PAC

Emilia started the We Belong Here PAC to unify Black elected women and activists. An accessible environment where Black women can share their stories with people who have been there and understand the challenges they face. We Belong Here creates an environment focused on self-care, acknowledging the stress that comes with the day-to-day challenges Black women face and we addressing it. Women should come and feel comfort, feel supported, feel empowered, feel rejuvenated.