Mary Rose Oakar was one of the few Ohio women to serve in both the Ohio General Assembly and the United States Congress. Oakar taught at Lourdes Academy, a Catholic high school for women; taught at Cuyahoga Community College; and served on the Cleveland City Council until her election to Congress in 1977. She represented Ohio's 20th Congressional District until 1993. Congresswoman Oakar was one of the few Arab-American members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1985, she was elected Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus, where she served until 1989. Rep. Oakar was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives to serve in the 124th General Assembly in 2001. During her term, she was a member of the following House committees:
-Finance and Appropriations,
-Transportation and Public Safety, and
-Higher Education Subcommittee (ranking minority member).
Oakar received a Bachelor of Arts from Ursuline College and a Masters degree from John Carroll University.