Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Chantel Raghu, vice mayor of Oxford, announces candidacy for Butler County Commissioner

In a room set with over 50 of her closest friends and supporters, Chantel Raghu announced her candidacy for Butler County Commissioner on Sunday at the Third Eye Brewery in Hamilton. Her declaration was met with applause from members of not only the Oxford community, but members of Butler County.

Since her election to Oxford City Council in 2017 and her election as vice mayor in 2021, Raghu now sets her sights on running for Butler County Commissioner, a position she considers long-overdue for a contested election. Raghu will be running against 18-year incumbent Donald Dixon, current vice president of the Butler County Board of Commissioners. 

The launch of her campaign trail was met by support from fellow Oxford citizens and council members, including her partner-in-politics Mayor William Snavely.

“The first thing you should know about her is that she may be from Oxford, but she cares about all of Butler County,” Snavely said to Raghu’s supporters. “She’s really the best vice mayor I could have asked for, and I’ve had several. She is just so great to work with.” 

Raghu’s fellow council members, including Jason Bracken, had similar things to say on Raghu’s ability to run for county commissioner. 

“I really can’t wait to see what she’ll do … this is much bigger than Oxford, because Oxford is already progressive,” Bracken said. “She can really take that [experience] and apply it to all of Butler County.”

Snavely spoke on Raghu’s ability to execute projects after conducting research on the problem at hand, including her project on food scrap recycling. 

“People talk about things they would like to see happen, like, ‘Oh let’s keep that out of the landfill, it would be good for the environment,’ and [Raghu] does that,” Snavely said. “She gets it done.”

Raghu’s concerns with economic development are tied to her work in Oxford, where she has supported a number of economic development opportunities, including affordable housing. Raghu said she will expand her focus on these issues in Oxford to combat them county-wide, as the problems are not restricted to Oxford alone.  

Raghu also promised to put the $500 million county commissioner budget into work should she be elected, which is something she said her predecessor has not done well. She hopes to focus on expanding affordable child care in all of Butler County, as she said there are very few options available.

“[The current board of commissioners] have no idea what their power is,” Raghu said to the crowd of supporters. “If you talk to them, all they want to do is gut, gut, gut the county. They don’t want to invest anything in the county; they’re not interested in it. It’s an inefficient process.”

Raghu shared her own personal experience of trying to assist a single mother in finding affordable child care and a shelter for her and her child to stay within Butler County. The mother was turned away from every single one of them for lack of room or their inability to take care of a baby within the shelter, a problem Raghu said is not uncommon in Butler County.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

Rooted in her concerns of a lack of child care and affordable housing is the lack of people who move to Butler County and actually end up staying. 

“So when county commissioners tell me that they want to keep everything the same, they need to go,” Raghu said. “It’s time for them to stop ignoring what is happening.”

Supporters met Raghu’s plans with applause, including Oxford residents Judy and Jim Vinch. Judy Vinch knows Raghu as a fellow veterinarian and said if her work as commissioner is anything like her work as a vet, Butler County is in good shape.

“She just has this attention to detail … I think she will make a great commissioner for Butler County,” Judy Vinch said. 

Raghu’s campaign manager Eden McKissick-Hawley addressed the crowd of supporters by pushing Raghu’s campaign to the next step, asking for support in donations and volunteers. This is the only way Raghu’s campaign can be taken seriously by all of Butler County, McKissick-Hawley said. 

McKissick-Hawley took up Raghu’s platform because she caught wind of a new candidate running and wanted to be part of “the story [Raghu] has to tell.” From this launch event, McKissick-Hawley hopes to now begin reaching out to people for their personal support of Raghu from all corners of the county. 

“November will be here before you know it,” McKissick-Hawley said. “This is a moment where some people are going to be willing to step up and vote for a Democrat who they maybe wouldn’t have thought that they would.”

McKissick-Hawley said she will mainly be focusing on educating voters on what a county commissioner can do for them in terms of serving the community’s needs.

“People deserve better,” McKissick-Hawley said. “People fundamentally deserve leaders who are responsive and who show up and are more accountable.”

From here, McKissick-Hawley and Raghu will begin launching her campaign, which will focus on organizing house parties for people to meet Raghu, donations via phone or mail and volunteer opportunities for those wishing to contribute to her campaign.