Democrat Phil Robinson won the District 6 state representative seat by a margin of 1,300 votes over Republican Jim Trakas in a tight race during the general election on Tuesday. This was Mr. Robinson’s first bid for a political office.
“I am honored and humbled to receive the vote of the people in District 6 and they entrusted in me this awesome responsibility to represent them and be their voice in Columbus,” Mr. Robinson said Wednesday morning after the votes were counted. “I look forward to listening to them and working with those in Columbus to advocate for families and communities. This validates the change they were looking for, a change in voice, and working with people of different backgrounds to get things done. I look forward to working with leaders in Columbus and staying in contact with voters in District 6.”
Rep. Marlene Anielski currently holds the Ohio House seat for District 6, but did not run for re-election due to term limits. District 6 encompasses 18 communities, including Bentleyville, Village of Chagrin Falls, Chagrin Falls Township, Gates Mills, Glenwillow, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills and Solon.
“I congratulate Phil Robinson on his electoral victory, which he richly deserves as a hard working candidate who did everything right in the campaign,” Mr. Trakas said Wednesday. “I wish him success. He and I both advocated for important issues like changing the school funding formula to benefit District 6 schools and taxpayers, provide more support to local government and reduce the cost of higher education.
“He and I plan to get together in the near future and I hope he is successful in representing us,” Mr. Trakas added.
According to the unofficial tally by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, the vote was 30,334 to 28,985.
After graduating from George Washington University with a finance degree, Mr. Robinson went to work as a congressional legislative aid for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California. He then moved on to work for City Year Cleveland as its executive director, where he led the organization out of debt and doubled its revenue.
Mr. Robinson, 37, of Solon now serves as the senior vice president for Regional and Site Operations for City Year, Inc. He is also a member of the boards for Gilmour Academy, United Black Fund Foundation and Teach for America of Greater Cleveland.
Mr. Trakas, 53, of Independence is the founder and CEO of American Online Learning Services, a corrective educational opportunity that works to provide its learners with the skills and training they need to improve their lives, such as leading a life free of crime and battling addiction. He also serves in the Ohio Military Reserve and is a city councilman for Independence.
Mr. Trakas previously represented the 15th District in the Ohio House of Representatives and was the House majority whip. Mr. Trakas unsuccessfully ran against Dennis Kucinich to represent Ohio’s 10th District in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008.
Mr. Trakas worked as a lobbyist for Altair Learning Management, a charter school management company owned by Bill Lager, the founder of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, according to reports. From 2010 to 2015, Mr. Trakas served as the chairman of the Board of Education for the charter schools George V. Voinovich and Frederick Douglass Reclamation Academies.
“I am grateful for the votes and support that I received from the people, and look forward to continuing to serve the people as a city councilman in Independence and a captain with Ohio Military Reserve,” Mr. Trakas said.