+ − Contact Information
Phone: (614) 466-7041
1 Capitol Square, Ground Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
+ − Biography
State Representative Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) brings decades of public service experience to his role at the Ohio House, having served parts of the city of Akron for 24 years.
Rep. Sykes believes a quality education results in future success, and he speaks on that subject with an expert voice and an impressive background. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Behavior from Ohio University, a Master’s Degree in Social and Applied Economics from Wright State University, a Master’s of Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Urban Studies from the University of Akron.
Rep. Sykes started his public service career as a Senior Management Specialist for the Economic Development Program and Research & Evaluation Planner for the Summit County Criminal Justice Commission. He enjoys the classroom, training young minds for the challenges of tomorrow. He taught American Urban Society and Economics courses as an assistant professor at the University of Akron.
Rep. Sykes also pursued his passion for politics. He served two terms on Akron City Council before his appointment to the House of Representatives in 1983. As a state legislator, Rep. Sykes sponsored legislation to toughen child abuse laws, to compensate wrongly-imprisoned individuals, and to prevent railroad crossing fatalities. He also championed the strongest fair housing law in the nation during his service. During his tenure, Sykes served as president of what is now the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus as well as Assistant Majority Floor Leader.
Term limits forced Rep. Sykes out of the Ohio House in 2000. He returned to the classroom, joining the faculty at Kent State University as an assistant professor of political science. Currently, he leads Kent State’s Columbus Program in Intergovernmental Issues, a program that offers a select group of college students the opportunity to live, work and study public policy in Ohio’s capital city. In 2007, he was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award for Kent State University.
Representative Sykes returned to the Statehouse in 2007, taking over for his wife Barbara, who represented the 44th District from 2001 to 2006. Rep. Sykes, since his return, has received numerous honors and awards. He has been named the Home Care & Hospice Hero for two consecutive years recognized in 2010 and 2011. He was most recently honored by the National Association of Social Workers as Public Elected Official of the Year.
Rep. Sykes is the Ranking member of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee and Co-Chairman of the Constitutional Modernization Commission. He also serves on the State Government and Elections Committee, the Local Government Committee and the State Government and Elections Subcommittee on Redistricting.
Representative Sykes resides in Akron with his wife Barbara. They have two daughters, a grandson and a granddaughter.