Janet Howard has worked in government, private industry, and social service. She served as a bailiff in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court before being elected in 1993 to the city council of Forest Park, the third largest city in Hamilton County. As an elected official of Forest Park, Janet served as chairwoman of the Human Resources Committee, liaison to the Civil Service Commission, and member of the Law Committee, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Investments. She also spent eleven years in the marketing division of a major oil company and five years in social services, where she worked on economic development projects for low-income neighborhoods.
In November, 1994, Senate District 9 elected Howard to the Ohio Legislature. She became the first African American Republican woman elected to the Ohio Senate. In her initial term in office, she was assigned to serve as vice chairwoman of the Senate Human Services and Aging Committee. She has also served on the Economic Development, Technology and Aerospace, Highways and Transportation, Judiciary, and State and Local Government, and Veterans' Affairs Committees.
Howard has a long history of service to the Republican Party. She was a co-manager in the campaign of former Forest Park Mayor Joseph Ragase. Howard has been actively involved in many other campaigns on the local, state, and national levels, as well. She has served as a precinct executive, ward chairwoman, and member of the executive, central, nominating, and policy committees of the Hamilton County Republican Party. She was activity director of the Forest Park Republican Club, a board member of the Hamilton County Republican Women's Club, and a member of the National Federation of Republican Women.
She is married to Allen Howard, a columnist with the Cincinnati Enquirer. They have three children: Shirie, Raymond, and George.