State Watch

Ohio state rep: Security told me I didn’t ‘look like a legislator’

Getty Images

An Ohio state lawmaker said she believes racial discrimination has played a role in the difficulties she has encountered while trying to enter the Statehouse building in Columbus, having once been told by security that she does not “look like a legislator.”

Rep. Emilia Sykes (D) told ABC News she was trying to get to the Riffe Center on Wednesday, which is connected to the Statehouse and is home to lawmaker offices, when a security guard stopped her. 

{mosads}The lawmaker said she had her badge displayed but was still stopped by a security guard. 

The guard continued to follow Sykes, until she said “What else do you want from me? I showed it to you twice.”

She later tweeted about the incident. 

“I’ve had an interesting go with statehouse and Riffe security. I was able to get in but not after being told that my ID wasn’t visible enough and I needed to stop and prove myself, even though I did what I and others always do. Today wasn’t the worst day,” she said in a tweet, referring to the incident on Wednesday. 



“I was once told when stopped that I ‘don’t look like a legislator’ and thus need additional screening. After that incident I they clarified that it was because I looked ‘too young.’ I’m not the youngest legislator in the OH General Assembly,” Sykes said in a tweet on Wednesday. 



The state lawmaker has said she believes her trouble entering the Statehouse is connected to her race. 

She told the network that the other seven black female legislators have endured similar experiences, but white legislators in the Statehouse have not. 

The Ohio State Highway Patrol, which monitors the Statehouse security, did not immediately respond to ABC News’s request for comment. Sykes told the news outlet that she later spoke with a highway patrol representative who said the guard she interacted with on Wednesday did not want to give her access to a particular part of the building because he was new. 

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video