ASHTABULA — Two women are vying for the Ward 4 Ashtabula City Council seat.
Democrats Cheryl Guyton, a retired social worker, and Jodi Mills, a retired nurse, will go head-to-head in the May 4 primary. The women seek the Ward 4 seat now occupied by Octavia Harris, who decided not to run for another term.
Guyton, a native of Ashtabula and Harbor High School graduate, is a retired social worker. She believes she’s the best candidate for the job because she has an understanding of the diverse community that makes up Ward 4.
“We have Gulfview, Lakeview, Ashtabula towers. These apartment complexes have residents that are seniors, or disabled, and often economically challenged,” she said. “Ward 4 is also diverse in all our neighborhoods and I want to ensure that all the individuals and families feel recognized and that their unique and diverse priorities and needs will be represented.”
Guyton said she believes in the individuals and families that make up Ashtabula.
“I see the work that is being done in my community by organizations such as Neighborhood Collaborative, G.O. Ministries, Good Karma Kitchen, Ricky Turner and Sal Jackson,” she said. “These organizations and individuals see needs in our community and go out and address them. I see the Ashtabula Downtown Development Association working to revitalize our downtown and the businesses and business owners who are trying to rebuild after the impact of COVID.”
Guyton worked for more than 25 years as a social worker. She then went on to work in child protection at Ashtabula Children Services.
Guyton is married to guitar player Willie Guyton and between the two they have eight adult children and more than 30 grandchildren.
She earned her bachelor’s degree from Kent State University Ashtabula and her masters in social work from Cleveland State.
The Guytons are full-time caregivers of three of their grandchildren, and she is a volunteer guardian for Catholic Charities, a graduate of LEADERship Class of 2010 and a vice -president of Zonta Club of Ashtabula.
Mills, a lifelong resident of Ashtabula and who’s lived in Ward 4 for the past 35 years, worked in the nursing field for 37 years as a registered nurse and supervisor. She recently retired as service support administrator with the Ashtabula County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
“I am so excited to be running for City Council Ward 4,” she said. “My husband Larry and I raised our daughter here and we love this community.”
Mills’ community Involvement includes: Former Vice President, Speech Hearing & Rehabilitation Board; City Council Ad-Developmental Committee for “Connie Shultz” signs; YMCA Board Member; YMCA Program Committee Member; YMCA Togetherhood Volunteer; Ashtabula Downtown Development Board; Secretary of American Business Women’s Association Anchors Aweigh Charter Chapter; 2019 Art in the Alley committee member; State Road Elementary PTO; Wine and Walleye volunteer; Multicultural Festival 5K Race event chair; Red Cross Volunteer and Uncorked volunteer.
“For me, the timing is right to serve on council, being recently retired gives me the free time to serve the residents in Ward 4,” Mills said. “After serving on numerous volunteer committees and boards, I have developed the necessary skills to serve as a community leader. I will bring my energy and work ethic to city council. More importantly, I have a love for the city along with a deep-rooted desire to see us succeed.”
Mills hopes to have an open door with area residents, serving as their representative, allowing their voices to be heard. She also wants to instill pride in the young people in the community.