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Former Ohio state senator CJ Prentiss dies..... By, Ohio's Black digital news leader

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CLEVELAND, Ohio- Former Ohio state senator C.J. (Carolyn Jean) Prentiss (pictured) died Tuesday afternoon with her husband Michael Charney and other family members by her side, her family said Tuesday. She was 82-years-old.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

An educator in her younger years and a former state representative and state school board member, Prentiss served in the Ohio Senate from 1999-2007 and was minority leader for the 126th General Assembly. She could not run for reelection due to a state law that sets term limits for state lawmakers. She and her husband Michael Charney were both active in the Cleveland community, particularly during the pendency of the longstanding schools desegregation case,  Charney a former labor organizer and retired Cleveland schools history teacher.

A Democrat, Prentiss received both a B.A. in education and M.Ed. from Cleveland State University. While in the Ohio State Senate, Prentiss represented constituents of Cleveland, Bratenahl, Brooklyn Heights, Cleveland Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, East Cleveland, Newburgh Heights and University Heights.

She served as minority whip during the 125th General Assembly and was the first female president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus. Prentiss was also on the founding board of directors for the nonpartisan economic policy group Policy Matters Ohio. She was a delegate to the Democratic Convention for Jesse Jackson in 1984, and then became co-chair of the Cleveland Rainbow Coalition.She was also chosen to be the special education adviser to then Gov. Ted Strickland in 2007.

Prentiss grew up in Cleveland and  attended the March on Washington led by Civil Rights icon the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in 1963 . She was a community activist-turned politician. She was on numerous committees and consistently advocated for those most under-served.

As a state lawmaker she spearheaded significant legislation aimed at decreasing the Black-White academic achievement gap in Cleveland's public schools and obtained funding for all-day kindergarten and reduced class sizes. and, the most read Black digital newspaper and Black blog in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.


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