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Kent Smith Biography

Senator Kent Smith serves the people of Senate District 21

State Senator Kent Smith currently represents Ohio’s 21st Senate District - having been elected to the Ohio Senate in 2022. Prior to his service in the Senate, Smith served four terms in the Ohio House of Representatives (from 2015-2022). He joined the Ohio General Assembly after serving Euclid, Ohio as a Member of the Euclid Board of Education from 2002 – 2013. In his 12 years on the Euclid School Board, Senator Smith never missed a meeting. As a Euclid School Board Member, he was a four-time winner of the “Award of Achievement” which is awarded annually by the Ohio School Boards Association to less than three percent of all School Board Members in Ohio.

Senator Smith graduated from Miami University in 1988 and earned his Master of Science in Urban Studies from Cleveland State University in 2001. His master's degree thesis - which was written in 2001 - was about the emerging threat of Predatory Lending and the Subprime Market. He also co-authored the first Predatory Lending Report by Policy Matters Ohio in 2002. Following his master’s degree studies, he sought his Ph.D. at Cleveland State University in Economic Development.

In late 2019, prior to the COVID pandemic, Senator Smith was admitted into the Public Leadership Credential program offered by Harvard's Kennedy School.  Senator Smith completed the coursework during 2020 and 2021.  He finished the program's Capstone requirement in January 2023 and graduated from the program in May 2023.

Senator Smith serves as the Ranking Member on the Senate Energy and Public Utilities, Financial Institutions and Technology, and Ways and Means Committees. He also serves on the Senate Judiciary, Transportation, and Rules and Reference Committees.

Throughout his time in the State House, he served as the Ranking Member on the House Public Utilities (134th and 133rd GA), Financial Institutions (133rd GA), Financial Institutions, Housing, and Urban Development (132nd GA), and Economic & Workforce Development (131st GA) Committees. He also served on the House Higher Education and Career Readiness, Technology and Innovation, Education, Commerce and Labor, and Rules & Reference Committees.

Representative Smith holds four core operating principles that help guide his work as a State Senator. They are:

  1. We all do better when we all do better.
  2. All of Ohio’s children today are all of Ohio’s future tomorrow.
  3. Ohio’s economy will grow from equal parts innovation and opportunity.
  4. I am going to show up, do the work and fight for those who sent me to Columbus.

As an example of the fourth principle, as a Representative during the 133rd General Assembly, there were 421 votes cast on the Ohio House Floor. Kent Smith was present and cast his vote on behalf of the 8th House District for every single vote.

In 2017, he was one of three Ohio State Representatives, and one of 37 overall, to receive a fellowship for the 2017 Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development conducted by the Council of State Governments (CSG) at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Since 2019, Senator Smith has served on the Advisory Board for Rust Belt Rising where he is a Resident Economic Expert. Additionally, Smith currently serves as the Ohio State Lead for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL), a position he also previously held in 2018 and 2020. He serves on three multi-state legislative caucuses: CSG’s Great Lakes Legislative Caucus, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Labor and Economic Development Standing Committee, and the NCSL Task Force on Cyber Security.

Since 2006, Senator Smith has been the head of the Euclid Democratic Party. In addition, he works as a roller derby announcer for Burning River Roller Derby in Cleveland. He joined Burning River in 2008 and from 2010 to 2020, he also announced for The Chicago Outfit. He has called hundreds of bouts across the Midwest. In 2018, he was one of 15 American roller derby voices selected to help announce the Roller Derby World Cup in Manchester, England.

Prior to joining the Ohio General Assembly, Senator Smith worked for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, which included an assignment with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and at four Northeast Ohio nonprofit organizations.

He is eager to use his unique perspective and professional experience to improve the quality of life for the people of the 21st Ohio Senate District and working families across the state.