Honorable A. Nino Vitale - Chair
Ohio House of Representatives
State Representative Nino Vitale is serving his third term in the Ohio House. He represents the 85th District, which is comprised of Champaign County and portions of Logan and Shelby counties.
Vitale has more than 22 years of private-sector experience, including working with companies like Apple Computer, Frigidaire, Wendy's International, Simonton Windows, and Limited Brands. He is currently working at his family's manufacturing business in Urbana, Ohio.
An 18-year resident of Champaign County, Vitale remains active in his community. He has served as vice president of Champaign County Right to Life, a Cub Scout leader and as an Ohio foster family. He is also an NRA pistol instructor and an active member of St. Mary's Church in Urbana.
Originally born in Cleveland, Ohio, where his family settled after emigrating from Italy, Vitale spent his younger years working in a factory and playing in a variety of bands as a drummer in the greater Cleveland area. Eventually he became the first in his family to graduate from college at The Ohio State University where he was a 4-year member of The Ohio State University Marching Band. Vitale is also an MBA Dean's List graduate.
Honorable Kristina Roegner - Vice-Chair
The Ohio Senate
Senator Kristina Roegner is serving her first term in the Ohio Senate representing the 27th Senate District which includes Ohioans living in Wayne County and parts of Summit and Stark counties.
Senator Roegner joins the Senate after serving four terms in the Ohio House from 2011-2018. Prior to her time in public office, she worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, serving global clients on performance and strategic issues. She also was a field engineer and project manager for Westinghouse Power Generation Service Division, where she was responsible for leading teams to overhaul large turbines and generators at power plants across the country.
Graduating cum laude in 1990, Senator Roegner has a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Tufts University. She also holds a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance and strategic management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Senator Roegner served as an elected member of Hudson City Council from 2005-2010. As part of the Budget Reduction Ad-hoc Committee, she helped to lead Hudson City Council in 2006 to reduce the budgeted city spending and size of government. She was also a member of the Board of Directors at Hudson Community First Advisory Board and Leadership Hudson class of 2007.
Senator Roegner and her husband, Eric, have three daughters and live in Hudson.
Ohio House of Representatives
Born 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.
The Ohio Senate
State Senator Rob McColley is serving in the Ohio Senate after being appointed in December 2017. He represents the 1st Senate District, which includes Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, and Williams counties, as well as part of Auglaize, Fulton, and Logan counties.
McColley graduated from Napoleon High School in 2003 and then went on to attend The Ohio State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Finance. He then attended the University of Toledo College of Law and graduated with a Juris Doctorate in 2010.
Prior to being appointed to the Senate, he represented the 81st Ohio House District as a State Representative where he also served in House leadership as Assistant Majority Whip. Before being elected State Representative, he served in the Community Improvement Corporation of Henry County, where he oversaw economic development efforts for the county and worked to improve local workforce development efforts between manufacturers and schools in Henry and Williams counties.
In addition, he is a former trustee of the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial in Sunbury, Ohio, which honors Ohio's men and women who have died in the war on terror. Other examples of his community involvement include formerly serving as a trustee of the Henry County Community Foundation, board member for the Henry County Board of Developmental Disabilities, a member of the OSU Alumni Club of Northwest Ohio, and a board member of the Center for Child and Family Advocacy.
Senator McColley lives in Napoleon with his wife, Denise, their daughter Anna, and their twin boys Matthew and Michael.
Assistant Vice President, State Relations
The Ohio State University Office of Government Affairs
Brian Perera is the Assistant vice-president for state relations, in The Ohio State University Office of Government Affairs, being a 1992 graduate of OSU.
He served in the Ohio Senate from 1994-2014 as Director of Finance, Deputy Chief of Staff, Senior Fiscal Analyst and other key roles.
Brian's career in the Ohio Legislature began in 1991 when he served State Senator Roy Ray as a Legislative Aide.
He has worked with Senate Ways & Means Committee, the Lottery Profits Review Commission, the Joint Select Committee on Volume Cap, the Medicaid Managed Care Study Committee, and the Joint Committee on Federal Funds.
Brian is currently a member of the Upper Arlington Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Steering Committee,
He has received awards from The Ohio State University and the Public Children's Services Agencies of Ohio.
Brian is married to Ellen Fuller Perera They have two teenage children.
The Ohio Senate
Senator Cecil Thomas was elected in November 2014 to serve Ohio's 9th Senate district, which includes parts of Cincinnati, St. Bernard, Elmwood Place, Norwood, Gold 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.
Director of Boards and Commissions
Office of the Governor
Jen Thrasher is a native of Chardon, Ohio and a graduate of Lake Erie College where she majored in Business Administration. Jen graduated from the University of Akron's Ray Bliss Institute, where she received her Masters of Applied Politics. Jen is also a graduate of the Jo Ann Davidson Leadership Institute.
Jen is well-versed in political operations at the national, state, county, and local levels. Most recently, she was scheduler at DeWine-Husted for Ohio. Jen's public-sector expertise includes service as a policy and legislative relations subject matter specialist at the Ohio Department of Education, working for the then Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, and as part of the DeWine-Husted Transition Team. She currently serves as Director of Boards and Commissions for Governor Mike DeWine.
Ohio House of Representatives
Representative Scott Wiggam is currently serving his second term as state representative for the 1st Ohio House District, which encompasses all of Wayne County.
As a three-term Wayne County Commissioner, he worked toward a limited, more effective local government, reducing local government spending while increasing services. He fulfilled his promises to the people of Wayne County through economic development initiatives, pro-agricultural policies, and conservative values.
Prior to his tenure as commissioner, Representative Wiggam owned and operated a restaurant with 20 employees. He earned a bachelor's degree from Asbury College and a master's degree in Political Science from the University of Akron. During Scott's four year, active duty tour in the United States Air Force, he was honored with an Air Force Commendation Medal for meritorious service.
Representative Wiggam and his wife Katie reside in Wooster. They have three children together.
President of CPR Solutions, LLC
Erik F. Yassenoff is the President of CPR Solutions, LLC, a comprehensive public policy research firm, and has worked on developing and implementing public policy for twenty years at the federal, state, and local levels.
Appointed to the Sunset Review Committee by Governor DeWine, Yassenoff's experience includes several years working on Capitol Hill, serving on two Ohio Governors' policy staffs, managing the General Services Division at the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, and serving two terms on the Upper Arlington City Council. Yassenoff's public policy experience is extensive and has covered numerous public policy areas involving state boards, commissions, and state agencies.
Yassenoff has a B.A. from The George Washington University in political science and history and a M.A. from The Ohio State University in public policy and management. He lives in Upper Arlington with his wife, Elizabeth, and daughter, Ella Jane.