Ladies' Gallery - Legislators

Anna F. Heise O'Neil

 
Service
Ohio House of Representatives, 1932 - 1934
Summit County

Ohio House of Representatives, 1936 - 1954
Summit County

Party
Democrat

Biography

Anna O'Neil had a long and distinguished career in the Ohio General Assembly. She was the first woman to serve ten terms in the state legislature, with her first term commencing in the House in 1932. She was also the first woman from Akron to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives.

 

O'Neil's interest in politics was encouraged by her husband, Dennis, who served on the Kenmore City Council and attempted a bid for mayor. After he was defeated in his run for office, she was asked by the Summit County Democratic Party to run for state representative. She was successful in 1932, lost in 1934; and returned to the Ohio House for nine consecutive terms in 1936.

 

During her service in the state legislature, O'Neil especially advocated for a minimum wage for working women and minors, and for federal matching funds to buy food for the needy. She also served as chair of the House Finance Committee, the first woman to hold this position. O'Neil helped to establish the National Order of Women legislators, serving as president in 1940; and also as president of the Ohio Order of Women Legislators. She was appointed by the governor to the Ohio Children and Youth Commission, serving as a delegate to a national youth issues conference in Washington D.C. in 1950. She retired from politics for health reasons before seeking an eleventh term.

 

Biography courtesy of the Ohio Women's Policy and Research Commission