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Dontavius L. Jarrells Biography

Representative Dontavius L. Jarrells serves the people of House District 1

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Rep. Dontavius Jarrells earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Economics from Hiram College in 2010.

After graduating, Dontavius embarked on a journey in public service as an Ohio Legislative Service Commission Fellow during the 129th General Assembly. His impactful contributions included drafting legislation, conducting legal and fiscal research, and actively participating in committee meetings. His commitment to effecting positive change extended to his roles at the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (OACBHA) and Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), where he championed Medicaid expansion and health equity initiatives, fostering community engagement across diverse populations to address health disparities.

In 2020, Dontavius emerged victorious as the State Representative for House District 25, all while continuing his work at the Franklin County Treasurer’s Office. His inaugural term showcased remarkable bipartisan accomplishments, such as eliminating discriminatory covenants, erasing derogatory language from the legal code, and directing $150 million towards lead prevention efforts, drawing from his personal experience as a lead poison survivor.

His unwavering commitment to his constituents and his inspiring vision for a better Ohio have garnered respect and admiration both within and beyond the General Assembly.

Following redistricting, Rep. Jarrells is in his second term as Representative for House District 1, advocating for bipartisan policies like the Paystub Protection Act, ensuring employee access to pay statements, and the Foster-to-College Scholarship Act, a testament to his dedication to foster youth. His unwavering commitment extends to raising the minimum wage to $15.00 and championing the replacement of lead water lines, underlining his unyielding dedication to Ohio’s children and families.

While Rep. Jarrells often applauds the achievements of his constituents, his own service and advocacy have not gone unnoticed. He’s received awards including:

  • 2023 Healthy Food Access Legislative Champion from Produce Perks Midwest
  • 2022 NAMI Legislator of the Year
  • 2022 Mental Health and Addiction Champions Award from OACBHA.
  • 2022 Legislative Champion Award from Mental Health America
  • 2022 Small Business Advocate of the Year from the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE)

Beyond his legislative responsibilities, Rep. Jarrells proudly serves as the Assistant Minority Leader for the Ohio House Democratic Caucus, where he helps lead a mighty caucus of 32 Democratic members.

His sphere of influence expands to prominent leadership roles in various state and national organizations, including being a member of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, participating in the NCSL’s State Exchange on Employment & Disability (SEED), serving as Chair-Emeritus of the Black Caucus of the Young Democrats of America, Vice-Chair of the Franklin County Central Committee, and Executive Committee Member for the Ohio Democratic Party.

In his own words, Rep. Jarrells envisions the Ohio we all deserve:

“As we look forward…I’m committed to building a better Ohio for all of us. It’s an Ohio where everyone can access high-paying careers, not just jobs. An Ohio where a child’s zip code doesn’t determine the quality of their education. An Ohio where our kids are safe from firearms, and families don’t have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet."