Senator Hearcel Craig’s extensive background in public service helped propel him to be able to serve the constituents of the 26th House District by being elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in November of 2014.
Craig’s career as a public servant for the City of Columbus began decades ago when he worked as a legislative liaison for the Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS). During his tenure at ODYS, Craig drafted legislation and secured legislative sponsorship for bills introduced in the Ohio General Assembly. Notably, one of the pieces of legislation he helped bring to fruition was H.B. 812, which secured $83 million for much needed capital improvements to ODYS facilities. Craig expanded his commitment to the community by working to improve the lives of young people. He did this by serving as the Director of Recruitment & Admissions for City Year, a program that recruits young adults to work full-time for one year on various social service projects around Columbus. As a result of his efforts, City Year corps members are able to receive valuable training and leadership skills that will benefit them later in their professional lives.
As the former Executive Director of the Hilltop Civic Council, Inc., he managed a comprehensive social service agency that served approximately 10,000 people annually in one of Columbus’ historic neighborhoods. During this time, he helped the Hilltop Civic Council’s 35-person staff administer its $1.2 million annual budget. This budget included initiatives such as supervision of programs for a comprehensive community health care center, youth and senior services, a resettlement center for new Americans, and a food and clothing pantry.
While serving as a Columbus City Councilmember, Craig was named President Pro Tempore. Craig had the honor of chairing committees that dealt with the city’s infrastructure such as the Public Service & Transportation Committee, Small & Minority Business Development Committee, and the Recreation & Parks Committee. In addition, Craig had the opportunity to chair committees that allowed him to interact directly with the people of Columbus. These committees included the Health & Human Services Committee and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, where he was able to continue advocating for the wellbeing of the community while meeting the needs of veterans, service personnel, and their families. He worked tirelessly to connect veterans with existing services and resources in the community and created new initiatives, such as the Better Municipal Care for Veterans Home Fund, which helps veterans and their families make needed repairs to their homes. Since the beginning of his career, Craig’s priorities as a public servant have included creating access to a wide range of programs and services to enhance the quality of life for children, families, veterans and seniors. Commitment to these values still remain his number one priority.
Over the past three decades, Craig has volunteered his time as a trustee on numerous community service boards, many of which were centered on education. He has served as a member of the Columbus Public Schools Equity Task Force, the Columbus State Community College Department of Business, Industry Technology Curriculum Committee, the Southside Learning and Development Center’s Board of Trustees, the Ohio Hunger Task Force Board of Trustees, and the Columbus Cultural Arts Center Board of Trustees. He is currently serving on the board of the Military Veterans Resource Center. Craig also served as board chair for the Alliance for Cooperative Justice, the Franklin County Prevention Institute, and the State Education Committee for the Columbus Chapter of the NAACP. In addition, Senator Craig has also completed Leadership Columbus, Leadership Ohio, and the Ohio Executive Institute.
In 2011, Craig was presented with the Public Servant of the Year award by Community Shares of Mid-Ohio. In 2015, Craig had the distinguished honor to be inducted into the Military Order of the Purple Heart for his continuous support of veterans. Additionally, Representative Craig was presented with the AMVETS Department of Ohio 2016 Legislator of the Year award.
Senator Craig is eager to continue his commitment to public service so that he may gain meaningful investments for our neighborhoods as well as create jobs and expand the local economy. State Senator Craig’s experiences have earned him the position on the following committees and commissions:
- Insurance & Financial Institutions, Ranking Minority Member
- Government Oversight & Reform, Ranking Minority Member
- Local Government, Public Safety, &Veterans’ Affairs
- Energy & Public Utilities
- Higher Education
- General Government & Agency Review
- Infant Mortality
- Correctional Institution Inspection Committee
- Retirement Study Council
- Advisory Council for Aging
- Commission on Fatherhood
- Council of State Governments Education Committee, Vice-Chair
Senator Craig and his wife, Linda, are the proud parents of four children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He proudly served our nation in the United States Army from 1970 – 1972.