Charleta B. Tavares was sworn in on January 3, 2011 as the first African-American and Democrat woman to serve as a state Senator from central Ohio in Ohio's 207-year history! She is a committed public servant who most recently served as a member of Columbus City Council from 1999-2010. Tavares has a state and national reputation as a leader in the areas of housing, health and human services. During her tenure on Council she chaired the Council's Housing and Health & Human Development Committees and served on the Finance, Utilities, Development, Minority and Small Business, Public Service and Transportation, Recreation and Parks and Zoning Committees.
Tavares was the chief sponsor of and successfully passed some of the most significant legislation in recent history in the areas of health, human development and housing including the: Clean Indoor Air Act; Housing Preservation Fund; Living Donor Paid Leave Program; Emergency Human Services Capital Fund; Responsible Property Owners Law (abandoned property); Columbus/Franklin County Affordable Housing Trust; Columbus Legislative Internship Program (CLIP); and Columbus Youth Safety Helmet Law.
Prior to joining Council, Tavares left a legacy for the residents of Ohio during her 5 ½ year tenure in the Ohio General Assembly as the State Representative in the 22nd House District. Tavares was the first African-American and democrat female to serve in the state legislature from Franklin County and the first African-American woman ever to hold a leadership position in the Ohio General Assembly, opening the doors for others to follow.
Tavares currently serves as Executive Director of the Multiethnic Advocates for Cultural Competence (MACC), a statewide non-profit membership organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of care in Ohio's behavioral healthcare system and to incorporate cultural competence into systems and organizations that provide care to Ohio's vulnerable and at risk populations.
She formerly served as the Chief of the Children's Protection Section in the Ohio Attorney General's Office. In this position, she played a leadership role in developing and advocating for policy and legislative initiatives to protect the health, safety, education and security of Ohio's children. She also served four years as Associate Director of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio and as a Legislative Assistant and chief staff person to the Human Resources Subcommittee of the Ohio House Finance-Appropriations Committee.
National: Currently serves as the chair of the Wand Education Fund Board of Directors and member of NCWO
State: The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation (President)
Local: Columbus Compact, Franklin County Family and Children First Council; and Access Health Columbus. Memberships:
Corporate Sisters; NAACP and Urban League. She previously served as a member of the Ohio Business and Professional Women's Organization; NCNW, The Ohio Municipal League; Hispanic Elected Local officials (HELO-NLC); Women in Municipal Government (WIMG-NLC); National Coalition of 100 Black Women; and National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO).
She previously served on the National League of Cities (NLC, Board of Directors); NLC Advisory Council [Immediate Past Chair]; National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO, President); and the NLC Human Development Steering Committee [Past Chair]; Central Community House [President]; Metropolitan Human Services Commission [Secretary]; Ohio Commission on Minority Health [Commissioner]; Columbus/Franklin County Housing Advisory Board [Past Chair]; National Black Caucus of State Legislators; National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women; and Women in Government [Director]. She was the founding member and previously served with the Community Research Partners [Past Chair].
She has received more than 200 national and state honors and awards including the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill's Legislative Leadership Award for her work in drug, alcohol and mental health parity legislation, Ohio Hispanic Coalition Award, Ohio Tobacco Control, Central Ohio Breathing Association, Friends of the Homeless Leadership Award, NASW-Ohio Chapter Legislator of the Year Award, Metropolitan Area Church Council's Living Faith Award, Southeast Mental Health's Public Official of the Year. Most recently, she received the Columbus Education Association's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award and the City Year MLK Day Dreamer Award. In addition, she was named a 2001 YWCA Woman of Achievement and was selected as one of 35- 1996 Flemming Fellows, a member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders and the Darden Institute's Executive Leadership Program.
She served as a member of the 1988 Platform Committee and attended or served as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions from 1984-2008.
Tavares is a graduate of Eastmoor High School and attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and Ohio State University.