Sandra Williams

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Sandra Williams
Member of the
Ohio Senate
from the 21st district
Assumed office
January 5, 2015
Preceded byShirley Smith
Member of the Ohio House of Representatives
from the 11th district
In office
January 2, 2007 - December 31, 2014
Preceded byAnnie L. Key
Succeeded byStephanie Howse
Personal details
BornCleveland, Ohio
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceCleveland, Ohio
Alma materCleveland State University, Tiffin University
ProfessionCriminal Justice

Sandra Williams is a Democratic member of the Ohio Senate, serving the 21st district since 2015. She formerly served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 2007 to 2014. Her district includes the eastern two-thirds of Cleveland, as well as the east-side suburbs of Bratenahl, Cleveland Heights, Garfield Heights, Newburgh Heights, Shaker Heights and University Heights.

Life and career[edit]

A native of Cleveland, Williams attended Cleveland State University and Tiffin University. Williams worked in the field of criminal justice for more than a decade. She worked in several different positions, including as a corrections officer, probation officer, parole officer and mediator. Williams also served as a member of the United States Army Reserve from 1987 to 1995. Williams also worked within the Statehouse as a legislative aide for her predecessor in the Ohio House of Representatives, Annie L. Key.

After Key decided not seek reelection in 2006, Williams ran for the safely Democratic seat. She won the Democratic Primary with 30.38% of the vote in a field of six candidates,[1] and was unopposed in the November general election.[2] In 2008, Williams was unopposed in the March Democratic Primary[3] and won the general election with 85.45% of the vote against Republican Rosalind McAllister.[4]

In 2009, Williams was elected President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, and continued to serve in that capacity through the 130th General Assembly.[5] Speaker Armond Budish also named Williams as Chairman of the Economic Development Committee for the 128th General Assembly.[6] She also served as Vice Chairman of the Public Utilities Committee.[7]

In 2010, Williams was again unopposed in the March Democratic Primary[8] and again defeated challenger Rosalind McAllister with 82.24% of the vote.[9] Williams won election to a final term in 2012 by defeating challenger Tony Perry in the primary with 81.07% of the vote.[10] She was unopposed in the general election.[11]

On October 31, 2014, Williams pleaded no-contest in Franklin County Municipal Court to two first-degree misdemeanor charges: one count of illegal conversion of campaign funds and one count of filing a false report. The charges pertained to her having, in 2010, sold Ohio State University football tickets that had been purchased with campaign funds to an associate, retained the proceeds for personal use, and failed to properly report the transaction on her campaign finance reports. The illegal activity was discovered as a consequence of an FBI investigation of payday lending lobbying activity at the Ohio Statehouse. Prior to her conviction, Williams voluntarily reimbursed her campaign for the value of the tickets.[12] In early December 2014, Williams was fined $2000 after having been found guilty of both charges.[13]

Ohio Senate[edit]

In 2014, Williams faced term limits in the House and decided to run for the Ohio Senate to replace Senator Shirley Smith, who was also term-limited. In the Democratic primary, Williams pulled 84.45% of the vote in a three-way race, and went on to win the general election with 86% of the vote.

As a member of the Senate, Williams is serving on a new task force seeking to improve relations between Ohio communities and their police departments, formed by Ohio Governor John Kasich.[14]

Policy and positions[edit]

Williams has been a vocal critic of Governor John Kasich's lack of diversity upon choosing his cabinet, stating, "I would hope that Kasich would understand that this state is very diverse.... African-Americans, as well as other minorities, make up a significant portion of the state's population and his cabinet, as well as his staff, should reflect that."[15] She also has stated that there is a "strong possibility" that Gov. Kasich and the GOP controlled legislature would curtail efforts to expand minority business contracting.[16][17][18]

A staunch opponent of collective bargaining reform brought forth in S.B. 5, Williams believes that Republicans could risk defeat if the continue with the bill.[19]

As chairperson of the Legislative Black Caucus, Williams was vocal about a controversial initiative that would require a photo ID to cast a ballot. Williams believes that doing so would "disenfranchise" minority voters from participating in an election. She has called it an intentional attack on the Democratic Party.[20]

In April, 2011, Williams made news when citizens concerned about Governor Kasich's proposed budget tried to visit legislators' Columbus offices and were stopped by state troopers and a police dog. Williams, who had an appointment scheduled with the group, said the dog was unnecessary and intimidating.[21]

In one of her first initiatives in the Senate, Williams has proposed workforce training measures.[22]

Electoral History[edit]

Ohio Senate 21st District: Results 2014
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
2014 Sandra Williams 62,130 86.53% Sikiru Safaru 9,673 13.47%
Ohio House 11th District: Results 2006 to 2012
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
2006 Sandra Williams 16,194 100.00%
2008 Sandra Williams 26,488 85.37% Rosalind McAllister 4,540 14.63%
2010 Sandra Williams 14,466 81.65% Rosalind McAllister 3,253 18.36%
2012 Sandra Williams 26,238 100.00%


  1. ^ "Election Results - Democratic Ohio House of Representatives: May 2, 2006". Ohio Secretary of State. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  2. ^ "Election Results - Ohio House of Representatives: November 7, 2006". Ohio Secretary of State. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  3. ^ "Election Results - Democratic State Representative: March 4, 2008". Ohio Secretary of State. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  4. ^ "Election Results - State Representative: November 4, 2008". Ohio Secretary of State. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  5. ^ "Ohio Legislative Black Caucus". Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  6. ^ Rep Sandra Williams appointed chair Archived 2012-03-28 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Guillen, Joe (2011-03-29). "Ohio's collective bargaining overhaul could see nearly a dozen changes before House committee vote on Tuesday". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  8. ^ "Election Results - State Representative - Democratic: May 4, 2010". Ohio Secretary of State. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  9. ^ "Election Results - Ohio House of Representatives: November 2, 2010". Ohio Secretary of State. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  10. ^ "Election Results - Democratic Ohio Representative: March 6, 2012". Ohio Secretary of State. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  11. ^ "Election Results - Final Results - November 2012". Ohio Secretary of State. Archived from the original (Microsoft Excel) on 2013-07-29. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  12. ^ Siegel, Jim (October 31, 2014). "State Rep. Sandra Williams found guilty of profiting from Ohio State football tickets". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  13. ^ Siegel, Jim (December 11, 2014). "State Rep. Dale Mallory sentenced in failure to disclose gifts case". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  14. ^ MacDonald, Evan (2015-01-21). "Five takeaways from task force forum on police and community relations". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Cleveland: Northeast Ohio Media Group. Retrieved 2015-01-21.
  15. ^ Fields, Reginald (2011-01-13). "Ohio Gov. John Kasich's 20 Cabinet appointments so far lack diversity". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  16. ^ "Black lawmakers blast Kasich for lack of diverse Cabinet". Toledo Blade. 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  17. ^ Fields, Reginald (2011-01-27). "Ohio Statehouse Democrats demand Gov. John Kasich embrace diversity, add minorities to his all-white cabinet". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  18. ^ Siegel, Jim (2011-01-28). "Blacks ask Senate to reject Kasich's all-white cabinet". Columbus Dispatch. Archived from the original on 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  19. ^ Guillen, Joe (2011-03-29). "Ohio's collective bargaining overhaul could see nearly a dozen changes before House committee vote on Tuesday". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  20. ^ Siegel, Jim (2011-06-22). "Photo-ID rule removed from elections bill". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
  21. ^ Guillen, Joe (2011-04-21). "Citizens say police dog, state troopers intimidated them on visit to legislators' offices". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
  22. ^ "Senate Democrats want minimum wage increase, affordable college". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Cleveland. 2015-01-21. Retrieved 2015-01-22.

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