About Nickie


Rooted in service

Nickie J. Antonio proudly serves as our Ohio Senator and Assistant Minority Leader, has long been a stalwart champion for the rights of all people to achieve equity, fairness and their own version of the American dream through public policies that advance our State. Senator Antonio is the Highest-Ranking Minority Member of the Health, Transportation, and the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committees. She also serves as a member of the Finance, Ways & Means, Joint Ethics, Rules & Ordinances, and Workforce & Higher Education committees.

Antonio is a recognized leader who reaches across the aisle to get things done. As a result, she championed Ohio’s historic adoption open records law (S.B. 23/H.B. 61) and step therapy reform law (S.B. 265/H.B. 72). In 2019, Antonio passed legislation to abolish the shackling of pregnant inmates (SB 18/HB 1) and to require pharmacist education for dispensing life-saving naloxone (SB 59/HB 341). During her tenure in the Ohio legislature, Antonio has continuously introduced the Ohio LGBTQ Fairness Act and legislation to end the use of the Death Penalty in Ohio.

Antonio has made a number of historical firsts in the Ohio General Assembly. In 2010, she became the first member of the LGBTQ community ever elected to the Ohio House in the 208-year history of the Ohio General Assembly. She was also the first LGBTQ member to hold a leadership position, as Minority Whip. In 2018, she became the first woman ever to hold the Senate District 23 seat and first LGBTQ community member ever elected to the Ohio Senate. Her historic firsts continued with her 2021 Senate leadership position, of Assistant Minority Leader.

Preceding her elected service, Nickie Antonio was helping others as a teacher for children with special needs. She has also served as Executive Director of a non-profit women’s outpatient treatment program, Senior Manager of a multi-county HIV/AIDS regional program, Adjunct Professor and independent consultant. She holds both Masters in Public Administration and Bachelor of Education degrees from Cleveland State University and is an Alumni of the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program of the Harvard Kennedy School,(2011).

Nickie and her wife Jean Kosmac have raised two amazing adult daughters; Ariel and Stacey, both Lakewood High School graduates.

Elected office


Community Focused

Nickie has a history of community service and currently serves on the Community Relations Committee for the Beck Center and the Executive committee for the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party. She is the past chair of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life Event and Cuyahoga Democratic Women’s Caucus, and Vice Chair for the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party.

Additional past civic service includes the Drug Court Advisory Committee for Cuyahoga County, Ohio Women’s Leadership Forum, Grow Lakewood Committee, Lakewood Schools’ Fifty Years Committee, The Beck Center, LHS Athletic Boosters, Lakewood Soccer Association, Women Speak Out for Peace and Justice, and the Cleveland State University Women’s Peace and Community Conference.

In 1996 she served as United States delegate to Japan and the Philippines with the IIE program-ASIA Pacific WINGS. She is a founding member and past Chair of the NorthCoast HIV/AIDS Coalition and Lakewood Citizen’s Community Relations Commission, past President of the Greater Cleveland Chapter of the National Organization for Women, and former board member of the Domestic Violence Center.

Nickie & Louis B. Stokes both receiving the 2013 CSU Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award
Nickie shows up and speaks up for workers
Senator Antonio advocates for healthy communities
Senator Antonio helps parents keep kids safe
Senator Antonio brings economic growth to Northeast Ohio

2022 Commonsense Governing Award, Ohio Mayor’s Alliance
2021 Legislator of the Year, The Society for Neuro Interventional Surgery
2021 Friend of the Profession Award, Ohio Dental Hygienists Association
2021 Croucher Family Award for Outstanding Leadership, Ohio Domestic Violence Network
2021 Legislative Champion Award, Mental Health America
2021 Ray of Hope Award in support of Ohioans living with disabilities/Easter Seals of Ohio
2021 100 Champions of Pride, The Advocate Magazine
2020 Notable LGBT Executives, Crain’s Cleveland Business
2019 Small Business Advocate of the Year Award, Greater Cleveland Partnership & COSE
2019 Historic First Award Ohio/House of Representatives/Ohio Senate, Victory Institute
2019 J. Howard Battle Equal Opportunity in Housing Award , Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors
2019 Arts and Culture, Special Public Official Recognition, Arts Cleveland
2018 Friend of Agriculture Award, Ohio Farm Bureau, Good Government Committee
2018 Advocate of the Year Award, the Ohio Dermatological Association
2017 LGBTQ Advocate of the Year Award, Ohio Diversity Council
2017 Groundwork Ohio, A Step Above Award, Legislator of the Year
2016 Democrat of the Year Award, Lakewood Democratic Club
2016 Homecare & Hospice Hero Award, Ohio Council for Homecare & Hospice,
2016 Outstanding Advocacy Award, Cuyahoga Democratic Women’s Caucus,
2016 Service Award, Cuyahoga County Democratic Party
2016 John Begala Award for Public Service, Center for Community Solutions
2016 Friend of Agriculture Award, Ohio Farm Bureau
2015 Red Ribbon Award Ursuline Piazza, Outstanding Contributions to the HIV/AIDS Community
2015 Legislator of the Year Award, Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities
2015 Participation in the Mission to Israel, The Negev Foundation
2014 Leadership Award, Human Rights Campaign
2014 Legislator of the Year, ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County
2014 Spirit of Healing Award, Ohio AIDS Coalition/AIDS Resource Center
2014 Art Cares Icon Award, AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland
2014 Model of Justice Legislative Award, Justice League of Ohio
2014 Legislator of the Year Champion for Children-Voices for Ohio’s Children
2014 Triad Advocate of the Year, Adoption Network
2014 Friend of Agriculture Award, Ohio Farm Bureau
2013 CSU Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award, Maxine Levin College of Urban Affairs
2013 Leadership Award, Cleveland Stonewall Democrats
2013 Ohio State Insect Ladybird Beetle Award, Ohio Association of Goodwill Industries
2012 Friend of Agriculture Award, Ohio Farm Bureau
2012 Louis B. Stokes Award, Cleveland Jobs With Justice
2012 Gratitude Award, Providence House Crisis Nursery Expansion
2012 Civic Leader of the Year, Cleveland LGBT Center
2012 Advocacy Award, Cuyahoga County Women’s Democratic Caucus
2012 Illumination Award-Civic Leader of the Year, Cleveland LGBT Center
2011 Gertrude W. Donahey Award, Woman Democrat of the Year, Ohio Democratic Party
2011 LGBT Shining Star Public Service Award, LGBT Heritage Day- City of Cleveland
2010 Women on the Rise Award, Hard Hatted Women
2001 Pathfinder Award, GLSEN


Nickie makes a difference.

So can you.