ASHLAND – With a little more than a month until the filling deadline, City Councilman Matt Miller is the first candidate to file petitions to run for mayor.
“I have spent my entire life in this community and I care very deeply about the future of our city,” said Miller. “It is so critical that our next mayor be a person with a clear vision for the future of our city and a person who knows what steps must be taken to make that vision a reality.”
Miller formerly served two terms as Ashland County Commissioner and has served on Ashland City Council for one year as its At-Large member. After spending three years at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, he currently serves as the Deputy Director of Business & Human Resources at the Ohio Department of Transportation District Three.
“In order to make a difference in government today you must be willing to challenge the status quo and tackle complicated issues, and I am ready to do just that,” said Miller.
A former president of the Board of Directors of Hospice of North Central Ohio and past president of the Ashland Care Center, Miller currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Appleseed Community Mental Health Center and the Ashland County Community Academy.
Miller, a graduate of Ashland University, said he is honored by the support he has already received from the community and business leaders.
“Our people recognize that it is going to take new leaders with new energy and new ideas to ensure our city has a bright future,” Miller said. “Money is tight for all local governments, and that is why it is so important that we be willing to work with our county officials, our school officials, our business leaders and our non-profits to address the challenges facing our community. We need to use common sense when tackling our issues, because we’re all in this together.”
Miller said retaining and attracting new jobs to the area will be one of his first priorities if he is elected mayor.
“The only way we will stop losing our talented young people to other places is if we can provide them with good paying jobs right here in our community,” said Miller. “This is not an easy task because competition for these new businesses is so aggressive, but it can be done.”
Miller believes it's important to work with Ashland's current employers to help them expand here.
“We must also continue to support our local businesses who are doing all they can to revitalize our downtown,” added Miller. “The revitalization of our downtown, with more shops and unique restaurants will be an important part of our overall economic development strategy.”
With the passage of the recent income tax levies, Miller looks forward to seeing more street improvements begin after the weather breaks in the spring, and additional police and firemen added in the near future.
“I am so thankful that our residents see the importance of investing in our city’s infrastructure, and keeping our city safe. Our quality of life here in Ashland is one of our top selling points, and we must make sure we continue to preserve those characteristics of our community that we’ve grown to love," Miller said.
Current Mayor Glen Stewart announced earlier this month that he was resigning in January. City Councilman Duane Fishpaw was appointed by council to serve the remainder of Stewart’s term, which is set to end Dec. 31, 2017. After being appointed, Fishpaw said he would not seek election as mayor in the 2017 election.
According to the Ashland County Board of Elections, Miller is the only candidate to file so far for mayor or any of the other seats up for election in the May 2 primary. The deadline to file is Feb. 1. Candidates for mayor are required to get 76 signatures to file.
Other seats up for election include City Council seats in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Wards and Municipal Court Judge.