By Prizm News
The first openly gay Ohioan elected to the state House of Representatives hopes to become the first openly gay Ohioan elected to the state Senate.
State Rep. Nickie Antonio announced her candidacy Thursday in Ohio’s 23rd Senate District, which includes her hometown of Lakewood, as well as Detroit Shoreway and other parts of Cleveland’s West Side, Parma, Middleburg Heights and other areas of western Cuyahoga County.
Ohio’s next legislative elections–plus elections for governor, statewide offices, the U.S. House and U.S. Senate–are scheduled for Nov. 6, 2018.
Antonio, a lesbian and a Democrat, has introduced legislation repeatedly during her nearly seven years in the Ohio House to expand the state’s nondiscrimination and hate-crimes laws to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. She has represented Ohio House District 13, which is part of the 23rd Senate District, since 2011.
She is unable to run for another two years in the House because of term limits. In the Senate, she would replace Democrat Michael Skindell of Lakewood, who also is term-limited.
Candidates in Ohio’s 2018 elections have until Feb. 7 to file papers with county boards of elections. Already, at least three other LGBTQ candidates have announced plans to seek office.
In Columbus, Democrat Mary B. Relotto, a lesbian, is running in Ohio House District 24, which includes Clintonville, Upper Arlington, Worthington, Hilliard and Grove City. The seat is now held by Republican Jim Hughes.
In Newark, openly gay City Council member Jeremy Blake, a Democrat, is challenging incumbent Republican Scott Ryan in Ohio House District 71, which covers much of Licking County.
At the federal level, Democrat Rick Neal of Columbus, who is gay, is challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, a Republican who is in charge of GOP efforts to keep control of the U.S. House in 2018. Neal is running in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District, which stretches from Athens to Upper Arlington and includes portions of Columbus’ South and Northwest sides.