Charleta Tavares

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Charleta B. Tavares
Member of the Ohio Senate
from the 15th district
Assumed office
January 1, 2011
Preceded by Ray Miller
Member of the Ohio House of Representatives
from the 22nd district
In office
July 1, 1993 – December 31, 1998
Preceded by Ray Miller
Succeeded by Ray Miller
Personal details
Political party Democratic
Residence Columbus, Ohio
Alma mater Eastmoor High School, Spelman, College and Ohio State University
Profession Legislator and non-profit President/CEO
Religion Christian

Charleta B.Tavares is Assistant Minority Leader in the Ohio Senate. She has represented the 15th District since 2011. Her district includes much of central Franklin County, including the cities of Bexley and Grandview Heights with the majority encompassing the Historic neighborhoods of Columbus, Ohio. Tavares previously served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1993 to 1998.

Life and career[edit]

Tavares has an extensive public service career starting as the Legislative Assistant to Rep. Ray Miller in the Ohio House of Representatives. She also served as Chief of the Children's Protection Section for Attorney General Lee Fisher prior to her appointment in 1993, as state Representative and the first African-American and Democrat woman to serve in the Legislature from Franklin County in the state's history. Tavares was elected in 1994 and served until 1998. She was elected by her colleagues in 1996 to serve as Minority Whip, making her the first African-American woman ever to hold a leadership position in the Ohio Legislature [1]

In 1998, Tavares gave up her seat to run unsuccessfully for Ohio Secretary of State. The Republican, J. Kenneth Blackwell won the election. However, Tavares was appointed to Columbus City Council in 1999, and won re-election that year.

Tavares was asked by her Party in 2002 to run as Lieutenant Governor with her running mate, Tim Hagan who was nominated to run for Governor however, they lost the election.[2] She won re-election to City Council in 2003, and 2007 easily.

Ohio Senate[edit]

In 2010, Senator Ray Miller was term limited and unable to run for another term in the Ohio Senate. As a result, Tavares, Representative Dan Stewart, and politician novice Oyango Snell opted to replace him. Tavares won the Democratic Primary nomination with 52.39% of the vote. She went on to defeat Republican Alicia Healy with 72.8% of the vote.

On January 3, 2011, Tavares was sworn into her first term in the Senate and once again became both the first Democrat and African-American woman to serve in the Ohio Senate from Central Ohio. She is also the first woman Democrat to serve in leadership in both the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate in Ohio's history.

In 2014, Tavares was elected as Assistant Senate Democratic Leader. She was re-elected to the Senate 15th District in 2014 with over 73% of the vote. She was also re-elected to her leadership post.[3] Tavares' legislative agenda includes providing benefits and protections for domestic workers, eliminating health disparities, eliminating disparities caused by school expulsions and suspensions, investing in Ohio's infrastructure, and creating equity and racial fairness in the judicial system. She has been an advocate for raising the minimum wage,[4] and for a refundable earned income tax credit.[5]

Committee assignments[edit]

Committee on Rules; Ways & Means (Ranking Member); Health and Human Services (Ranking Member); Finance; and Corrections Subcommittee (Finance). She was also appointed to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR), Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee (JMOC), and the Constitutional Modernization Commission (co-chair).

Electoral history[edit]

Election results
Year Office Election Votes for Tavares % Opponent Party Votes %
1994 Ohio House of Representatives General 23,866 100%
1996 General 23,427 73.81% David Glenn Republican 8,311 28.19%
1998 Ohio Secretary of State General 1,404,081 43.97% Ken Blackwell Republican 1,789,105 56.03%
1999 Columbus City Council General 72,396 15.32%
2002 Ohio Lieutenant Governor General 1,236,924 38.31% Jennette Bradley Republican 1,865,007 57.76%
2003 Columbus City Council General 52,073 16.16%
2007 General 60,833 17.83%
2010 Ohio Senate General 60,563 72.32% Alicia Healy Republican 23,183 27.68%
2014 General 53,258 76.39% Joe Healy Republican 16,461 23.61%


  1. ^ "Charleta Tavares for secretary of State". The Vindicator. 25 April 1998. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "Tavares: Columbus must keep up services". German Village Gazette. 25 September 2003. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Ohio Senate Democrats keep current leadership in place". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Cleveland. 2014-11-19. Retrieved 2014-11-26. 
  4. ^ "Senate Democrats want minimum wage increase, affordable college". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Cleveland. 2015-01-21. Retrieved 2015-01-22. 
  5. ^ Siegel, Jim (2015-01-21). "Democrats in Ohio Senate lay out agenda". Columbus Dispatch. Columbus. Retrieved 2015-01-22. 

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