Slippery Rock graduate student and U.S. Marine veteran Jondavid Longo is currently running unopposed in the general election this November for Slippery Rock borough mayor, after winning the republican nomination this past spring against incumbent Ron Fodor.
The 27-year-old SRU student currently is in his last semester at SRU and he hopes to finish his masters degree for secondary education in social studies. Longo first came to SRU in the fall of 2013 after his time in the Marines, where he finished his undergraduate program with a bachelor of arts in history. Longo said the professors at SRU are of great help and knowledge and that he has a lot of praise for them.
“They have all been passionate about sharing their knowledge with you,” Longo said. “They really help you hone in on your skills, and that has been what’s nice about a masters is that its not quite as broad as an undergraduate degree.”
After graduating from Beaver Area High School in 2008, Longo joined the U.S. Marines and served overseas as an infantry rifleman in Afghanistan until 2011. As part of Operation Enduring Freedom, he and others had responsibilities such as escorting high ranking members of the branches from base to base and keeping the peace and creating a presence that the Marines are in town, Longo said.
“It was an experience, I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Longo said. “I’m glad I did it, but I’m glad to be home; lucky to be home.”
Longo said the one thing that being in the Marines teaches someone is how to truly face adversity.
“It teaches you to face adversity more than anything because you are going to deal with a ton of different people,” Longo said. “People of different race, color, creeds, religions, different personalities and there is going to be people you don’t get along with, but at the end of the day, you just really learn to put the mission first.”
Longo did compare the Marines to being at Slippery Rock, reflecting that the student body here is quite diverse like the military, and because everyone around you is there for a higher purpose. Longo mentioned the difference between the two, with one being how you go about your responsibilities.
“What was different in college that was different from the Marine corps was your sense of responsibility, it becomes more of a sense of self responsibility, rather than responsibility for a group,” Longo said. “In the Marine corps, of course you have somebody that is telling you what to do, what to wear, when to eat, when to wake up, and when to go to sleep.”
Back on May 16th, when the borough went to the polls, Longo and his opponent Fodor, stood outside the borough office for more than 10 hours, as they met voters and were able to interact with the community they hoped to represent.
“It was a lot of fun in that I got to touch base with the people who are coming out to support me,” Longo said. “I also got to shake hands with a lot of folks that I had missed during the primary election cycle cause there were doors that I knocked on and I didn’t get an answer, so I got to double-tap on that so to speak.”
Later in the evening on election day, while the votes were being counted, Longo decided to spend some time with his mother as he took her to see comedian Chris Rock at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh because he had bought her tickets for Christmas way in advance.
When they went in, he and everyone had to turn their cell phones off and leave them in a designated location. It wasn’t until after he got out of the show and turned his phone on when he learned that he had won the primary.
“For three hours, I was inside the Benedum chewing my nails,” Longo said. “After those three hours I turned my phone on and I was just pummeled with messages and phone calls and that’s how I found that out.”
In the general election coming up in under two months, Longo runs unopposed with no democrat currently on the ballot. There is always the possibility of someone getting a write-in, but with the election just around the corner, Longo thinks it would be tough for someone to come forward now.
“As far as I know, nobody has stepped forward, but I guess there is always a chance,” Longo said. “I think it would be really impressive for someone to come out as a write-in candidate right now.”
Since his victory in the primary, Longo has been keeping in touch with the community as much as possible, which includes attending the city council meetings and showing his face everywhere he can.
“I still think there is work to be done, I’m going to continue forward as planned and just do what I have to do,” Longo said. “I think it’s the right thing to do because I don’t think it would be very becoming of me and fair to anyone for me to take a back seat and just let it ride out because I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t care because I do.”
The Slippery Rock borough general election will take place on November 7th.