Bearcat State Legislators

Jonathan Dever - House District 28

Dever_HouseDistrict28_2017Representative Jonathan Dever is currently serving his second term as state representative. He represents the 28th House District, which includes the northern suburbs of Hamilton County.

A lawyer by trade, Representative Dever is the founder of the Dever Law Firm, located in West Chester where he helps families and businesses survive, expand and thrive.

Representative Dever is a member of the Ohio, Cincinnati and Butler County Bar Associations. He and his family attend Hope Church where he serves as a financial coach to families in need of advice.

He grew up in Montgomery, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor's Degree and then from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Master's degree, and later earned his Juris Doctorate from Capital University.

Representative Dever and his wife, Martha, live in Madeira with their two sons.

Richard D. Brown - House District 20

Dever_HouseDistrict28_2017Richard Brown received a Bachelor of Arts and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Cincinnati, followed by receiving a Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University. As an attorney practicing private law for over 35 years, Brown’s concentration and success with hundreds of construction, oil and gas, medical malpractice and insurance coverage litigation cases helped earn him licenses to practice law in Ohio, various federal courts and the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In addition to his extensive background in public service and the legal arena, Brown is also a member of the American Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, Columbus Bar Association, Defense Research Institute and Columbus Claims Association, and he was selected as “Best Lawyer” by Columbus CEO Magazine from 2010-2017.

Brown has lived in Canal Winchester for over twenty years, where he and his wife raised their three children. He is heavily involved in the local community, including serving as President of the Canal Winchester Diamond Club, overseeing fundraising efforts for the high school baseball program and being a youth baseball coach.

Louis W. Blessing III - House District 29

Blessing_HouseDistrict29_2017State Representative Louis W. Blessing, III is serving his third term in the Ohio House of Representatives. He represents the 29th Ohio House District, which includes portions of western Hamilton County.

Representative Blessing has an extensive background in electrical engineering. He currently works as an engineer at Super Systems, Inc. in Cincinnati and previously worked at Duke Energy and Nova Engineering.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering at the University of Cincinnati. The representative is a licensed professional engineer and is a member of the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers. He currently resides in Colerain Township with his wife, Heather, and son, Louie.

William Seitz - House District 30

Seitz_HouseDistrict30_2017A lifelong resident of Western Hamilton County, State Representative Bill Seitz has worked to represent the best interests of the Greater Cincinnati area at the Statehouse. Known for his colorful floor speeches and legal acumen, in a 2016 ranking of all 132 legislators published by Columbus Monthly Magazine, Seitz was rated best speechmaker, savviest, funniest, and most knowledgeable and was also recognized as second most effective and hardest working. He has put these talents to good use on issues that matter to his constituents.

Seitz began his public service career as a member of the Cincinnati Board of Education and the St. Antoninus Parish Education Commission. He was twice elected Green Township Trustee, where he also served as President of the Hamilton County Township Association. He has never forgotten his local government roots.

Beginning in 2000, Seitz served in the Ohio House of Representatives for almost seven years. There, he rose through the ranks, serving as Majority Whip and Assistant Majority Whip and chair of the Civil and Commercial Law Committee. Seitz then went on to serve in the Ohio Senate from 2007 to 2016 before returning to the Ohio House.

In the Senate, Seitz served as Chairman of the Public Utilities Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Government Oversight & Reform Committee. In the House he chairs the Majority Caucus Policy Committee as a member of Speaker Rosenberger’s leadership team, and also chairs the House Public Utilities Committee.

A fiscal conservative, Seitz is a champion of government efficiency. While others in Columbus talk about reducing the size of state government, Senator Seitz has put tangible ideas on the table, including now-enacted proposals that would reduce prison overcrowding and save the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

Throughout his legislative career, Senator Seitz has been at the forefront of criminal and civil justice issues, leading the effort to reform Ohio’s criminal sentencing laws and eliminate the barriers to employment many nonviolent offenders face following their release from prison. He has also worked to enhance penalties for violent offenders and to keep sex predators away from our children. He was the key architect of Ohio’s sweeping tort reforms by which nearly two dozen such bills between 2001-2004 transformed Ohio’s civil justice landscape and made Ohio more business-friendly. In these endeavors, he has been aided by his legal background. A lawyer since 1978, he is currently of Counsel with Dinsmore and Shohl and for the last ten years he has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America book.

In 2014, he was named Southwest Ohio’s Best Antitrust Lawyer by that publication, and was named State Legislator of the Year by the United States Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform.

Representative Seitz is an alumnus of the University of Cincinnati, where he graduated summa cum laude with an undergraduate degree in history. He also earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Cincinnati College Of Law, where he distinguished himself as a member of the Order of the Coif and was selected to the Law Review.

Brigid Kelly - House District 31

Kelly_HouseDistrict31_2017Born and raised in Norwood, Rep. Brigid Kelly learned early on the importance of a strong community.

Brigid attended Saint Ursula Academy, earned an undergraduate degree from Xavier University, and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati. As a former city council member in Norwood and current representative for men and women at the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Brigid wants to build on the experience she’s gained from both her professional and personal life to help improve the lives of everyday Ohioans.

For over a decade Brigid has been fighting for members of UFCW, their families, and our communities. She works on a daily basis for issues like good wages, affordable health care benefits, and safe places to work.

As state representative, Brigid Kelly is focused on ensuring that our children are receiving the best education by making investments in local schools, holding corporations accountable for taxpayer investments, and pursuing policies important to families, like paid sick and family leave.

Brigid believes it’s getting harder to support a family, not easier. That’s why she puts families first and politics last to build a better Ohio.

Catherine D. Ingram - House District 32

Ingram_HouseDistrict32_2017As a public servant, university instructor, realtor, neighborhood leader, mom and grandmother, Catherine Ingram knows how much the decisions made in Columbus personally impact all of us.

Catherine Ingram has been a member of the Cincinnati Board of Education for over 20 years, serving as president and vice president in the mid-90’s. Ms. Ingram has served on numerous board committees and, for many years, in a leadership role as Finance Committee chair.

In 2000, she earned the prestigious honor of being just one of five board members in the state to be named to OSBA’s All-Ohio School Board. At the state and national levels, she served on OSBA’s Board of Trustees and Executive Committee and the Federal Relations Network.

Professionally, Ms. Ingram is an instructor at Northern Kentucky University and an independent consultant, working extensively on the local, state and federal levels to advance key issues facing education.

She earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s of business administration degree from the University of Cincinnati. As an active member of the community, Ingram serves on boards of the United Way/Community Chest; Leadership Cincinnati XX; Great Rivers Girl Scout Council; Greater Cincinnati Black Achiever Award program; Mayerson Human Resource Academy; and Cincinnati Recreation Commission. Recognized as a leader in the community, Ms. Ingram was honored with the Delta Sigma Theta Achieving Women Award and United Way/Community Chest Outstanding Service Award and recognized in the 2003-04 edition of Who’s Who in Black Cincinnati.

Jim Butler - House District 41

/Butler_HouseDistrict41_2017State Representative Jim Butler is currently serving his third elected term as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. He represents the 41st House District in Montgomery County (Centerville, Kettering, Oakwood and portions of Riverside and Dayton).

An Ohio native, Representative Butler grew up in Washington Court House, Ohio. Upon graduation from high school, he was accepted into the United States Naval Academy. He graduated in the top 10% of his class, earning him a spot in flight school. While waiting to begin training as a naval aviator, he obtained a Master's Degree in History from the University of Maryland. After completing flight school and receiving his wings, Representative Butler was accorded the privilege of flying the F-14 Tomcat fighter. Representative Butler returned to Ohio after leaving the military. He entered and graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He now practices as a business litigator at Thompson Hine, LLP. This experience has provided Representative Butler with an understanding of the challenges that face Ohio’s businesses.

Representative Butler's desire to serve is also reflected in his volunteer work within the Dayton community. He is a member of Oakwood Rotary and he volunteers for the Greater Dayton Volunteer Lawyer Project, a complementary agency to Legal Aid of Western Ohio. He is the former President of the Dayton Ballet Associate Board, which works to support the Dayton Ballet.

Senator Cecil Thomas - Senate District 9

Thomas_SenateDistrict9_2017Senator Cecil Thomas was elected in November 2014 to serve Ohio’s 9th Senate district, which includes parts of Cincinnati, St. Bernard, Elmwood Place, Norwood, Golf Manor, Hollydale, Columbia Township, Silverton and Springfield Township.

A product of a working class family, Senator Thomas was born in rural Alabama in 1952. At the age of eight, his family moved to Cincinnati settling into the West End community where he attended St. Anthony Catholic School. After graduating from Withrow High School, he took a job as a public service worker. However, with the desire to attend college he joined the Cincinnati Police Cadet Program, which offered free college tuition.

Upon graduation from the University of Cincinnati, Senator Thomas joined the Cincinnati Police Department where he spent twenty-seven years working throughout all 52 neighborhoods. In 1976, while on the force, Senator Thomas recognized that there was a lack of minority representation, especially in policy-making decisions. He decided to take action to ensure that both African Americans and women received an equal opportunity to serve and protect their community. As a result of his actions, the Cincinnati Police Department increased the percentage of African Americans and women on the force to 40% under two federal consent decrees.

Senator Thomas retired for the police force after a successful career in 2000 to assume the Executive Directorship of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission (CHRC). During the civil unrest in 2001, he emerged as a leader utilizing his experience as a police officer and community leader to quell the violence. Under his leadership, the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission soared to new heights as he assisted city leaders with restoring community trust while also building a cohesive community and police relations program. Today the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission recognized nationally as one of the premier human relations organizations in the country.

In 2005, Senator Thomas stepped down from his position with the commission to serve as a member of Cincinnati City Council. He made the choice to run for Cincinnati City Council after a request for additional funding for a successful program to assist young African Americans males was rejected. While on Cincinnati City Council, he served as President Pro Temp and Chairman of the Law and Public Safety Committee where he was successful in convincing City Council to provide funding for several community projects.

His most notable success is the Cincinnati Youth Streetworker Program, which evolved into the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV). This program provided direct resources and outreach services to at risk youth/young adults in Cincinnati’s most troubled neighborhoods addressing the critical problem of violence and crime. The implementation of the CIRV program resulted in a significant reduction of crime and improved community and police relations to which is now being modeled nationally and internationally.

Senator Thomas is a lifetime member of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Sentinel Police Association, member of the Masonic Gothic Lodge 121, and serves as the Vice President of the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the National Action Network.

Senator Cecil Thomas has been appointed to serve as Ranking Member of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee and State and Local Committee for the 131st General Assembly. In addition to his leadership roles, Senator Thomas will also serve on the following committees: Education, Civil Justice, Insurance, Financial Institutions, Finance Subcommittee on Education (K-12) and Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education.

He has been married to Pam Thomas for over thirty years. They have four adult children and four grandchildren. They have resided in the community of North Avondale for the past thirty years.

Senator Matt Huffman - Senate District 12

Huffman_SenateDistrict12_2017Senator Matt Huffman is currently serving his first term in the Ohio Senate, representing the 12th Senate district which includes all of Allen, Champaign, Mercer and Shelby counties, as well as portions of Auglaize, Darke and Logan counties. He previously served four terms in the Ohio House of Representatives, the last two in leadership positions, including being elected by his fellow legislators to serves as the second highest-ranking member, Speaker Pro Tempore.

Born and raised in Lima, Ohio, Senator Huffman has practiced law for the past 30 years in his family’s private practice law firm in downtown Lima. He has been admitted to practice in all of the state and federal courts in Ohio and is an “AV” rated attorney by the Martindale-Hubbell rating service, the highest rating an attorney can receive. He has represented dozens of small businesses in West Central Ohio.

Senator Huffman began his public service on Lima City Council in 1992, serving until 2006, including the final seven years as City Council President. In 2007, he began his service in the Ohio House of Representatives. During his time in the Ohio Legislature, Senator Huffman championed bills to reform the medical delivery system, protect life at all stages and repeal common core. He has always maintained a strong commitment to the preservation of gun rights.

Senator Huffman has been a tireless advocate of removing unnecessary government regulations and fees and lowering taxes for all Ohioans; he defeated an income tax increase while on Lima City Council and supported the reduction of state income taxes on small business owners and the elimination of the Ohio estate tax. While in the Ohio House, he was named a “Guardian of Small Business” and earned three “Watchdog of the Treasury” awards.

Senator Huffman is deeply concerned about our nation’s debt and was a primary sponsor of a resolution in the Ohio House to call for a convention of the states, as authorized by Article V of the U.S. Constitution, to propose a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. He believes the states must take back the power they have relinquished to the federal government in order for our nation’s debt crisis to be solved.

Senator Huffman is the fifth of nine children born to Lawrence and Shirley Huffman. He graduated from Lima Central Catholic High School in 1978. He then went on to earn his degree in Government from the University of Notre Dame in 1982 and his law degree from the University of Cincinnati School of Law in 1985.

Married for 30 years, Senator Huffman and his wife Sheryl (nee Simoneau) have made their home in Lima, where they have raised four children: Clare, Matthew, Ellen and Sam. In addition to being members of St. Charles Church, he and Sheryl belong to several community organizations including Heartbeat of Lima and the Knights of Columbus. In his free time, he enjoys watching his youngest son, Sam, play collegiate football and referees CYO basketball.

Senator Joe Uecker - Senate District 14

Uecker_SenateDistrict14_2017Senator Joe Uecker is serving his first term in the Ohio Senate, having previously served four terms in the Ohio House of Representatives. He represents the 14th District, which encompasses Adams, Brown, Clermont, and Scioto Counties as well as a portion of Lawrence County. He currently serves as Chairman of the Standing Committee on State and Local Government, Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, Broadband and Technology Caucus and the Ohio Senate Sportsmen's Caucus and as a member of the Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Technology Committee. Senator Uecker is also a member of the Senate Committees on Agriculture, Criminal Justice, Energy and Natural Resources, Public Utilities, Medicaid and the Standing Committee on Transportation, Commerce and Labor, as well as the Finance Subcommittee on Corrections.

A Certified Public Manager since 2001, Senator Uecker has a wide range of leadership experience in both the private and public sectors. He began his career in public service as a police officer, a position he held for 15 years. He has also served as the Administrator for the Clermont County Engineer’s Office as well as a Miami Township Trustee.

A primary goal of his term in the Ohio Senate is to continue creating a jobs-friendly environment in Ohio. As a former small business owner, Senator Uecker understands how to foster an economic environment that allows businesses to grow and create increased employment opportunities.

Senator Uecker has been widely recognized for his public service and has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including, four-time recipient of the Watchdog of the Treasury Award from the United Conservatives of Ohio, Cincinnati Moeller High School Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Friend of Agriculture Award from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Additionally, Senator Uecker has received the AMVETS Civil Servant Legislative Award and been named the Legislator of the Year by the VFW of Ohio Charities, the League of Ohio Sportsmen and by Technology for Ohio's Tomorrow.

Senator Uecker remains actively involved in numerous community organizations, including the Greater Cincinnati Right to Life and Ohio Right to Life, Clermont County Chamber of Commerce, Clermont County Farm Bureau, Ohio Farm Bureau and National Rifle Association (Life Member). He remains an honorary member of the Pregnancy Center of Clermont County Board of Directors. He has been active with the National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucus.

An avid outdoorsman and certified NRA pistol instructor, he has taught hunter safety courses with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division. In his free time he enjoys hunting, fishing, golf, and playing guitar.

Volunteering in the community is also very important to Senator Uecker. Having dedicated quite a bit of time to the Boy Scouts of America, he has served as Cub Scout Den Leader, Assistant Scout Master, and Merit Badge Counselor. He also served as the area chairman for the Boy Scouts “Friends of Scouting” fundraising campaign in 2001 and 2002.

Senator Uecker holds a B.A. in Public Administration from Northern Kentucky University and an Associate’s Degree from the University of Cincinnati. He currently resides in Miami Township in Clermont County, where he has spent his entire life. He and his wife Patti have four children and six grandchildren.


Alex Coorey
Director, Alumni Advocacy

Email Alex
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