ABOUT

Your Champion for the 9th District

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Biography

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With a career spanning over forty years in public service, state Senator Cecil Thomas is a proven leader for the people. Throughout his tenure in public service, he has used his faith to unite the community encouraging effective collaboration, cooperation, and communication to bring about trust and peace.
A product of a working-class family, Cecil was born in rural Alabama in 1952. At the age of eight, Cecil and his family moved to Cincinnati settling into the West End community where he attended St. Anthony Catholic School. After graduating from Withrow High School, Cecil wanted to attend college, however, like many inner city urban youth, his family did not have the financial resources to make this a reality. Therefore, he took a job with the Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company as a janitor. Soon afterward, Cecil made the decision to alter his course and joined the Cincinnati Police Cadet Program which offered free college tuition.

Upon graduation from college, Cecil officially joined the ranks of the Cincinnati Police Department. Cecil spent twenty-seven years with the CPD and worked in all 52 Cincinnati neighborhoods. In 1976, while on the force, Cecil recognized that there was a shortage of minority representation, especially in policy-making decisions. It was then that he decided to take action to ensure that both African Americans and women received an equal opportunity to serve and protect their community. Today, as a result of his action, the Cincinnati Police Department increased the percentage of women and African Americans on the force to 40% under two federal consent decrees.

Cecil retired from the force in 2000 to assume the Executive Directorship of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission (CHRC). During the civil unrest in 2001, Cecil emerged as a community leader utilizing his experience as a police officer to quell the violence. His first challenge as Executive Director was to assist city leaders in restoring trust and building a cohesive community and police relations program. While director of CHRC, Cecil was often sought out to diffuse volatile incidences in the city due to his unique ability to build bridges and connect cultures. Under his leadership, the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission soared to new heights and is now recognized nationally as one of the premier human relations organizations in the country. In 2005, at the height of his career with CHRC, Cecil stepped down, believing he could more effectively represent the community he vowed to protect and serve. Cecil made the choice to run for Cincinnati City Council after a request for additional funding for a successful program to assist young African Americans males was rejected by council. It was then that Cecil knew that he needed to be in a place to make sound policy decisions that would help better the community.

While on Cincinnati City Council, Cecil served as President Pro Temp and Chairman of the Law and Public Safety Committee where he was successful in lobbying City Council to provide funding for several community projects. His most notable success is the Cincinnati Youth Streetworker Program which evolved into the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV). This program provided direct resources and outreach services to at-risk youth and young adults in Cincinnati’s most troubled neighborhoods, addressing the critical problem of violence and crime. The implementation of the CIRV program resulted in a significant reduction of crime and improved community and police relations which is now being modeled nationally and internationally. Cecil has been effective in his career as a police officer, community leader and City Councilman. His record speaks for itself. He is a fearless leader who uses his life experiences to produce positive outcomes for the community. Cecil is a lifetime member of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Sentinel Police Association, member of the Masonic Gothic Lodge 121, and serves as the Political Awareness Chairman of the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the National Action Network.

He has been married to Pam Thomas for over thirty years. They have four children and four grandchildren. They have resided in the community of North Avondale for the past thirty years.