Senator Vernon Sykes (D- Akron) has had a long career in public service as a former member of both Akron City Council and the Ohio House of Representatives. While serving in the House of Representatives, Senator Sykes was Chairman of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee and Co-Chair of the Budget Planning and Management Commission. Senator Sykes is a professor of Political Science at Kent State University.

Dr. Sykes earned his B.B.A. in Management and Organizational Behavior from Ohio University. He also holds a Masters of Social and Applied Economics from Wright State University and a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University. He later earned a Ph.D. in Public Administration from the University of Akron.  Currently, Senator Sykes serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee.