Cleveland voters decided Tuesday to
send openly lesbian Nickie J. Antonio to the Ohio House.
With 54 percent of the vote counted,
Antonio bested rival Lakewood Councilman Tom Bullock to take the
Democratic nomination to represent Ohio's District 13, a
Democratic-leaning district which includes portions of Cleveland's
west side and the city of Lakewood, a Cleveland suburb which includes
a large gay community.
Only one other candidate has jumped
into the race: independent candidate Jeremy Caldwell, who filed on
“She is certainly expected to win [in
November],” Denis Dison, a vice president of the Gay
& Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that supports openly gay
elected officials, told On Top Magazine in an email.
Antonio was first elected to the
Lakewood City Council in 2005 and chaired the council's Health and
Human Services Committee. Having led the NorthCoast HIV/AIDS
Coalition and served as president of the Greater Cleveland Chapter of
the National Organization for Women, she is an avowed champion of
civic engagement. She was endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory
Fund and The Plain Dealer, Ohio's largest daily.
Antonio will make history as the
state's first openly gay state representative.
Dison said she'll become invaluable as
lawmakers debate issues important to the gay and lesbian community.
“An openly LGBT state legislator has
the power to change the debate about issues that affect our community
and our families,” he said. “When the state House debates things
like employment non-discrimination, adoption or partnership rights,
Nickie will be the face and voice of the LGBT community in Ohio, and
her presence, the relationships she builds with her colleagues –
those things will matter.”