ASHLAND — A construction safety director with political experience in Jeromesville and Hillsdale School District cruised to victory Tuesday as Ashland’s newest council member.
Jason Chio, 48, earned 70.31% of the votes counted compared with opponent Heather Sample’s 29.69% with all precincts reporting results, according to final, unofficial vote totals from the Ashland County Board of Elections.
Chio replaces Bob Valentine, who represented the city’s second ward for 15 years. Valentine announced he wouldn’t seek re-election in May.
“I’m absolutely excited,” Chio said. “Now is when the real work starts — so it’s time for me to gear up and keep things going strong for Ashland.”
Chio said his priority will be to learn about upcoming infrastructure projects involving Claremont Avenue and the construction of a roundabout.
“With all the different levies and issues and things, and it being an odd year, I never knew what to expect,” he said. “I was optimistic, but never 100% confident. I took nothing for granted.”
Chio, the city’s new representative for Ward 2, will serve alongside Dennis Miller, 66, an incumbent seeking election to his second four-year term in Ward 3 once they are all sworn in in January.
Miller won by 11 percentage points, claiming 54.74% of the votes counted compared with opponent Emily Huestis’ 45.26% with all precincts reporting results, according to final, unofficial vote totals from the Ashland County Board of Elections.
“It was a little closer than I thought,” Miller said, moments after unofficial results finalized. “(Emily Huestis) is very aware of the political arena — she did a good job.”
Miller said he is grateful to the voters for allowing him to work for another four years. His priority, like Chio, will be to focus on infrastructure — both seen and unseen.
“We have aging structures,” he said of the water and sewer systems. “That has to be addressed. That’s going to be a priority.
Miller was first elected to city council in 2017.
Ashland County Board of Elections is still counting write-in votes. The unofficial results reported a 26.54% turnout around the county.
Council woman Angela Woodward and Mayor Matt Miller sought re-election unopposed.
For a full list of results from contested races, along with questions and issues, across Ashland County, click here.