Antonio Honored With 2023 PCSAO Legislator Of The Year Award
Recently, I was honored to receive the 2023 Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO) Legislator of the Year Award. These awards, as described by PCSAO, “recognize outstanding leadership and action by legislators on issues impacting children and families served by the children's services system.” I was joined in this distinction by Representative Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon).
As a former teacher of children with special needs and the mother of two daughters, protecting the rights of women, children and families has always been at the heart of my work as a legislator. My legislative priorities throughout Ohio’s biennium operating budget reflect these values and my commitment to improved quality of life for all of our families.
In the budget that passed in July, House Bill 33, we were able to achieve:
- Increased funding for infant vitality and health
- Expanded access and greater support for childcare
- $3 million in support for behavioral healthcare for children
- Removal of barriers to access to SNAP
- $50 million in support for vulnerable multi-system youth
There is still much work to do to uplift our children and families. However, I will continue to advocate for Ohio to be the best state to live, work and raise a family. This includes allowing Ohioans to fully embrace who they are and live life as their authentic selves. That is why I continue to introduce the Ohio Fairness Act, which would provide civil rights protections for members of the LGBTQ+ community. This important, family-centered legislation would help move our state forward to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible.
As I continue to serve as your state Senator, I am determined to continue to pass legislation with an unwavering dedication to children, families, workers, health and human rights, but most of all, for a brighter future for the state of Ohio.
(PCSAO) is a non-profit 501c(3) organization that advocates for sound public policy, promotes program excellence, and builds public value for safe children, stable families and supportive communities.
State Senator Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) is honored to be serving in the Ohio Senate, representing District 23, and in leadership as the Minority Leader. Antonio, who was elected to the Senate in 2018, previously spent eight years in the Ohio House of Representatives, where she served District 13 and was also a member of leadership. Antonio has served as a Lakewood City Councilmember, Executive Director of an outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program for women, Adjunct Professor and a teacher for children with special needs.
Antonio serves as Highest Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Transportation, Select Committee on Rail Safety and Rules and Reference Committees. Additionally, she is a member of the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus, previously as chair, and is the State Director for the National Women Legislators’ Lobby.
She has been a dedicated champion of workers’ rights, high-quality education, local governments, equal rights for women and the LGBT community, health care for all and fighting the opioid crisis.
Antonio is recognized as a leader who reaches across the aisle to get things done. As a result, she championed Ohio’s historic adoption open records law (S.B. 23/H.B. 61) and step therapy reform law (S.B. 265/H.B. 72). Last General Assembly, Antonio passed legislation to abolish the shackling of pregnant inmates (S.B. 18/H.B. 1) and to require pharmacist education for dispensing life-saving naloxone (S.B. 59/H.B. 341). During her tenure in the Ohio legislature, Antonio introduced the Ohio Fairness Act, which would provide civil rights protections for members of the LGBTQ community. She continues to work to remedy and end Ohio’s use of the death penalty, as well as on an array of other bills focused on improving the lives of all Ohioans. Antonio continues to be an established expert in health policy in the General Assembly.
The first in her family to graduate from college, she holds both an MPA and a B.S. Ed. from Cleveland State University, and she was named a CSU Distinguished Alumni in 2013. She is also an alumnus and Bohnett Fellow of the Kennedy School Harvard Leadership Program (2011) and has been the recipient of numerous awards as legislator of the year from various organizations during her tenure.
Her daughters, Ariel and Stacey, have made Antonio and her wife, Jean Kosmac, very proud as the girls engage in their adult life journeys.