Former Ohio Senate Democratic Leader Capri S. Cafaro is the newest Executive in Residence at American University’s School of Public Affairs in Washington, DC. During her ten years in the Ohio Senate, Cafaro established track record of legislative effectiveness and leadership, advocating for economic growth and for the voices of the vulnerable. She now brings her expertise in government to American University focusing on building strategic partnerships with other universities and policy organizations while also organizing special events and teaching in an adjunct position.
Over her tenure in the Ohio Senate, Cafaro passed numerous bills into law, focusing her efforts on economic development, health care and victim’s rights. She authored a law that created the state’s bio products procurement standard to stimulate the development of goods derived from the agriculture sector. Another bill implemented Tourism Ohio, a dedicated program to promote the tourism economy in the state, into law. Senator Cafaro’s efforts also established through a law change a revitalization district aimed at growing small businesses in the largest city in her area.
Cafaro drew upon her extensive experience in health care policy and social service delivery to author Ohio’s Medicaid reform law and was also the sponsor of the law that establishes the protocol to clear the rape kit backlog in Ohio. With its implementation, Ohio becomes the 6th state to have such a law on the books.
As a state Senator, Cafaro 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 Am Vets, the Ohio Soy/Corn/Wheat Association and the Ohio Public Children Services Association.
Her Ohio Senate committee assignments included serving as the ranking member of both the Senate Medicaid Committee, the Joint Committee on Medicaid Oversight (JMOC) and the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Labor Committee. She was Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education, and was also a member of the Senate Ways and Means, Agriculture, Energy/Natural Resources and the Joint Legislative Ethics (JLEC) Committees.
Over the last year, Cafaro has been a frequent guest on both TV and radio news programs sharing insights on the 2016 election cycle and policy topics of the day. She has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, CBC, France 24 and a variety Sirius XM and Fox affiliate radio programs. Her opinion pieces have been featured in the Washington Examiner and the Huffington Post Blog.
Cafaro graduated from Stanford University at age 19 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 at the Mercy Health Youngstown, the hospital system in her local community. Cafaro blended her academic and professional experience as adjunct 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 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.