FREDERICKTOWN -- Experience won out Tuesday in the race for Fredericktown Village Council's four available seats.
Incumbents Mollie De Rojas, Rick Lanuzza and Ryan Shoemaker all won re-election, alongside former longtime Council member James Hobson, outperforming newcomer Rita Fenton in the Nov. 2 general election.
Shoemaker collected 371 votes, followed by Lanuzza with 348 and De Rojas with 310, according to unofficial vote totals from the Knox County Board of Elections. Hobson garnered 270 votes – narrowly outpacing Fenton, who had 266.
Shoemaker, who was first elected to Village Council in 2017, will begin his second term in-office on Jan. 1, 2022. He thanked the Fredericktown voters for their support late Tuesday and pledged to continue efforts to move the village forward.
"I am honored to be re-elected to Village Council by the residents of Fredericktown and thank them for their vote of confidence in me. I promise to continue working hard for this great community by preparing Fredericktown for growth, maintaining fiscal responsibility, and improving our communication and infrastructure," said Shoemaker, 37, who also works as a science teacher at Mount Vernon High School.
"Lastly, I promise to serve the village with honesty and integrity, and I look forward to being a part of the great changes that will take place in Fredericktown over the next four years."
Lanuzza was also first elected to Council in 2017, and will begin his second term in January. He expressed gratitude to his supporters following Tuesday's victory.
“Thanks to all the residents who supported me through this race. Hopefully, I represent all of you in a way that makes you proud," said Lanuzza, 47, who also serves as the chief of Fredericktown EMS. "For those who did not vote for me, I hope to gain your trust for the next election”.
De Rojas won her first election Tuesday, having been appointed to Fredericktown Village Council in June 2020. She called her first year on Council an "enlightening" experience late Tuesday and said she's looking forward to continuing her work there.
"I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the voters of Fredericktown for electing me to Village Council. It has been so enlightening to connect with residents and listen to their concerns, requests and ideas during the last year," said De Rojas, 49, who also works as the labor relations officer for the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
"I am honored and humbled that they have placed their trust in me and I look forward to continued dialogue and the work ahead. I said I wanted to be a voice for residents and a driver in the development of Fredericktown and that is what I will do."
Hobson, while technically not an incumbent, had the most Village Council experience of any candidate in this race. He served on Council from July 2012 to December 2019 and will begin his fourth term in-office on Jan. 1, 2022. Hobson thanked his supporters late Tuesday and said the "real winner tonight is our beloved Village of Fredericktown."
“Thank you to everyone who voted. The real winner tonight is our beloved Village of Fredericktown," said Hobson, 51, who also works as the senior vice president and senior commercial lender for Park National Bank in Mount Vernon.
"Congratulations to my fellow council members who were also elected. I wish to extend each one of you much respect and an appreciation for your willingness to serve our constituents. We need to collaborate together to effectuate the best results possible over the next four years for this great community we all cherish.
"Personally, I am equally thankful and excited for being provided this wonderful opportunity. I look forward to working alongside existing Council members Scott McKnight and Ray Brewer, along with Mayor Jerry Day, and the rest of our great team.“
Fenton, 66, ran for public office this fall for the first time. She served in the military and worked in retail before retiring four years ago.
Shoemaker, Lanuzza, De Rojas and Hobson will join Ray Brewer and Scott McKnight on Fredericktown Village Council beginning Jan. 1, 2022.
Fredericktown had the only contested Village Council race in Knox County on Tuesday. Candidates in Brinkhaven, Centerburg, Danville, Gambier, Martinsburg and Utica all ran unopposed. Here were the vote totals for each race:
Brinkhaven Village Council (three candidates running for four seats)
Shelia Adams -- 18 votes
David Dial -- 20 votes
Trisha Moreland -- 18 votes
Centerburg Village Council (three candidates running for four seats)
Saundra Dove -- 144 votes
Greg Myers -- 133 votes
Ronda Seligman -- 127 votes
Danville Village Council (four candidates running for four seats)
Jill Byers -- 81 votes
Patrick Crow Jr. -- 55 votes
Jeffrey Furay -- 75 votes
Michael Waldeck -- 59 votes
Gambier Village Council (four candidates running for four seats)
Kaitlin Sockman -- 114 votes
Natalie Wright -- 121 votes
Rakia Faber (write-in) -- vote total unspecified
Liz Forman (write-in) -- vote total unspecified
There were 94 votes cast for Faber and Forman combined, according to the Knox County BOE.
Martinsburg Village Council (one candidate running for four seats)
Larry Grant -- 22 votes
Utica Village Council (three candidates running for four seats)
Patricia Creighton -- 2 votes
Danielle Doup -- 2 votes
Connie Long -- 2 votes
Utica is split between Knox and Licking counties. The above vote totals represent how Knox County voted in the race.