Helen Rankin became the first African-American woman to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives when she was appointed in 1978 to served in the seat of her late husband, James W. Rankin. She then sought election to that seat in 1978, and served eight elected terms in the Ohio House.
During her tenure, Rankin held appointments to the following House committees:
-Aging and Housing,
-Colleges and Universities Subcommittee,
-Finance and Appropriations,
-Human Resources Subcommittee,
-Highways and Highway Safety,
-Transportation and Urban Affairs,
-Children and Youth, and
Rankin was active in the Hamilton County Women's Democratic Club, the National Council of State Legislators, the Committee on Human Resources, the Planned Parenthood Association of Cincinnati Board, the Community Action Agency, and the Ohio Job Training Coordinating Council. She has been honored for her community and political work by the Ohio Primary Care Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the 1980 Democratic National Convention Platform Committee, the Black Student Community of Capital University, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and the Harriet Tubman Black Women's Democratic Club.
Biography courtesy of the Ohio Women's Policy and Research Commission