Capri S. Cafaro is a fourth generation resident of Ohio’s 32nd Senate district, an area she has had the honor to represent since January 2007. Now entering her ninth year of service, Cafaro is the dean of the Senate Democratic caucus. During her tenure, Cafaro has established a track record of legislative effectiveness and leadership, advocating for economic growth and for the voices of the vulnerable.
In 2009, Senator Cafaro was elected by her peers to serve as the Minority Leader of the Ohio Senate, a position she held for 3 years. During her term as Leader, Senator Cafaro was on the front lines of some of the toughest budget negotiations Ohio had seen in decades due to the national economic crisis at the time. As Leader, she also led the fight to protect collective bargaining rights of public employees.
Over the last several years, Cafaro has passed numerous bills into law, focusing her efforts on economic development, health care and victim’s rights. She has authored a law that creates a state bio products procurement standard to stimulate the development of goods derived from the agriculture sector (SB 131, 128th General Assembly), implemented Tourism Ohio, a dedicated program to promote the tourism economy in the state, and established a revitalization district for the largest city in her area aimed at growing small businesses (SB 314, 129th General Assembly).
Senator Cafaro drew upon her extensive experience in health care policy and social service delivery to author Ohio’s Medicaid reform law (SB 206, 130th General Assembly). The bill created a legislative oversight body to hold the Medicaid program accountable. It also established benchmarks to slow the growth of Medicaid spending without removing people from the program. Through payment innovation, creating incentives for improving health outcomes, and a focus on prevention and population health management, Cafaro believes this law has set the foundation for a sustainable, value driven Medicaid system that would be able to serve the newly eligible Medicaid expansion population even if the federal government walks away from providing financial support to the states for this service in the future.
Finally, Cafaro is proud to be the sponsor of the law that establishes the protocol to clear the rape kit backlog in Ohio (SB 316, 130th General Assembly). With its implementation, Ohio becomes the 12th state to have such a law on the books.
Cafaro has received numerous awards including being recognized as Legislator of the Year for the Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses, The Ohio Speech and Hearing Association, The Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging, The Ohio AmVets and The Ohio Soy/Corn/Wheat Association.
Currently, Senator Cafaro serves as the ranking member of the Senate Medicaid Committee, the Joint Committee on Medicaid Oversight (JMOC) and the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Labor Committee. She is Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education, and is also a member of the Senate Ways and Means, Agriculture, Energy/Natural Resources and the Joint Legislative Ethics (JLEC) Committees .
Cafaro is a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in American Studies, and earned two masters degrees: an MALS with a concentration in International Studies from Georgetown University, and a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) with a concentration in health and administration from The Ohio State University. During her MSW training, Cafaro spent three years in the Humility of Mary Health Partners system that provides care to her local community. Cafaro blended her academic and professional experience as part time faculty at Youngstown State University where she taught a course on U.S. social welfare policy in their MSW program.
Prior to her service in the Ohio Senate, Cafaro, 38, worked with several non-profit and advocacy agencies focusing on the needs of older adults including The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and Global Action on Aging, an NGO with consultative status at the United Nations.