Rep. Antonio Honored For Efforts To Improve Public Health, Combat Statewide Opioid Crisis
State Rep. Nickie Antonio(D-Lakewood) today received The Center for Community Solutions Award for Public Service in Honor of John A. Begala for her efforts to address Ohio’s opioid addiction crisis and her work on the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee to improve the rate of spending and quality of Medicaid care.
“I am extremely honored to accept this award from The Center for Community Solutions, an organization known for their dedicated efforts to improve the quality of life for all Ohioans,” said Antonio. “I will continue to work diligently to expand treatment opportunities for those struggling with addiction, ensure local law enforcement have adequate resources, and increase prevention programs to combat the ongoing opioid crisis in Ohio.”
Rep. Antonio was recognized at the ceremony for her work on the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee to improve quality of care and health outcomes for individuals enrolled in the state's Medicaid program. The Lakewood lawmaker also played a key role in gaining legislative approval of language expanding access to syringe exchange programs that will help reduce the spread of disease and encourage more addicts to get needed treatment.
“What is notable about Rep. Antonio is that she works in collaboration with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get results,” said John R. Corlett, president and executive director of The Center for Community Solutions. “This award was created to honor those who have shown a great commitment to public service, especially as it relates to improving health and human services in Ohio. Rep. Antonio has certainly done that, but she has also literally saved the lives of countless Ohioans through their legislative work.”
The public service award is named after John A. Begala, former executive director of Community Solutions and a three-term member of the Ohio House of Representatives. Begala dedicated his career to public service and the human service field, with leadership positions at The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Greater Cincinnati Hospital Association, and the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.
The Center for Community Solutions is a nonprofit, non-partisan think tank focusing on solutions to health, social and economic issues in Northeast Ohio. Established in 1913, the organization is a United Way agency.
State Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) is honored to be serving her third term in the Ohio House of Representatives, where she was elected by her collegaues as Minority Whip for the 131st General Assembly. House District 13 includes the city of Lakewood in its entirety and parts of Cleveland’s West Side including the Detroit Shoreway (Gordon Square Arts District), the Stockyards, West Boulevard, Cuddell, the Village of Linndale, and a section of Ohio City neighborhoods. Representative Antonio is a civic minded public servant who is concerned with the quality of life of those around her and has been a social justice advocate working for human rights and equality for all people for more than two decades. Antonio began her public policy service when she was elected to Lakewood City Council in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009. During her tenure on Lakewood City Council she chaired the Economic Development, Housing, and Human Services committees and served on the Public Works and Finance Committees and was the council representative for the Lakewood Hospital Board and Community Relations Boards. She brought successful strategies for economic development through proactive policies such as the first ever sidewalk dining legislation, the results of which can be seen today in the vibrant outdoor dining scene throughout the city. Ever concerned about environmental policy and practice, Antonio also shepherded through legislation to reduce toxic emissions through a reduced idling ordinance. Antonio also exercised leadership by developing opportunities for diversity appreciation and understanding and civic engagement through the Lakewood Community Relations Advisory Commission of which she was a founder and promoted citizen human rights by expanding protections in the existing municipal intimidation laws. She also championed the push to retain funding for senior programs and services. Antonio is an alumni of the Harvard Kennedy School Senior and Executive Leadership program for State and Local governments. The first in her family to graduate from college, Antonio holds a Master of Public Administration Degree from the Maxine Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, also from CSU. She is a graduate of Lutheran West High School located in Rocky River, Ohio. A former Special Education teacher and non-profit Executive Director for a women’s outpatient drug/alcohol treatment program, she also served for nearly two decades as a consultant to non-profits and governmental agencies throughout Northeast Ohio and served as administrator for a multi-County HIV/AIDS regional planning group. During this same period she was an Adjunct Professor at CSU teaching courses in Women’s Studies and Public Administration policies and practice. She continues her civic involvement through membership in numerous community groups and serves in an advisory capacity for Spaces Art Gallery and on the board of the non-profit Cleveland Tenants Organization. Antonio currently serves as Ranking Member of the Health and Aging Committee. She also serves on the Finance and Appropriations Committee, Finance Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee, and the Joint Legislative Committee for Unified Long-Term Servics and Supports. Rep. Antonio is a member of the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus. Because of her social justice advocacy and activity, Antonio is known as a collaborative community builder and organizer. She is an enthusiastic proponent of the arts and civic engagement as some of the best tools available to develop local and statewide viability and economic success. She is also a certified coach and advocates the benefits to the world when people are valued and encouraged to rise to their highest potential and purpose. Daughters Ariel and Stacey, both Lakewood High School graduates, have made Rep. Antonio and wife Jean Kosmac very proud as the girls engage in their post-secondary pursuits.