Slippery Rock Mayor Jondavid Longo, announced his intention to run for a Pennsylvania House seat during a rally at the North Country Brewing Company on Jan. 23.
Although this is not an official campaign announcement, due to Pennsylvania redistricting plans still not being finalized, the Republican mayor made his intentions clear to the crowd.
Over 100 supporters filed into the North Country Brewing Company tap room to hear from prominent Republican public servants and speakers in western Pennsylvania, and how they plan to increase Republican wins across the state this year, in what they call a “red wave.”
Speakers at the Red Wave Rally included Butler County Sheriff Mike Slupe, New Castle Mayor Chris Frye, Pennsylvania Rep. Josh Kail (R-PA18), former U.S. House of Representatives Republican candidate Luke Negron and Hermitage School District Board Member Andrew Bucci.
Despite the many speakers to take the stage, their message remained unified on the importance of leadership.
“Leadership is something that I know is vitally important to all of us,” Frye said. “To our communities, to our schools, to our organization and to your life.”
Bucci, Hermitage School District’s youngest board member at 18-years-old, called for everyone, especially younger Americans, to get involved with the process.
“I believe, and still do believe, that my generation needs to get involved,” Bucci said. “We need to stand up and show them that we matter too.”
Young voters came out to show their support for Longo and the other Republican speakers.
Grove City College sophomore Nick Guidas said he believes Longo to be a great leader and has his “support, 100 percent.”
By the end of the guests’ speeches, the crowd’s anticipation for Longo’s announcement filled the room. Finally, once on the stage, he was greeted by a roaring applause of excitement. Attendants rose to their feet, holding signs that read “Citizens for Longo” while simultaneously waving small American flags.
“As I’m sure many of you have heard, Pennsylvania is adopting new legislative districts, and Slippery Rock may become part of an entirely new district,” Mayor Longo said. “Should the newly proposed maps hold, I fully intend to run a campaign to serve as your State Representative in Pennsylvania’s new 8th legislative district.”
Longo, who previously served as an infantryman in the Marines, was recently elected to a second term as Slippery Rock’s mayor. He believes that these two services have prepared him for what is waiting in Harrisburg.
“I think first and foremost it is important to remember that [all] Marines are leaders,” Longo said. “Those leadership traits and characteristics that were instilled in me as a United States Marine, of course, I’m going to carry for the rest of my life.”
Longo also discussed what he’s been able to do for Slippery Rock during his time as mayor. From lowering the costs of permits and fees for small businesses, to having never raised taxes for Slippery Rock residents and establishing the Slippery Rock Borough as a Second Amendment sanctuary city, Longo said he has done what he can to reshape Slippery Rock.
“We’ve been able to turn the view of our community around,” Longo said. “This is a place that you come to have fun, it’s a place to come and shop and more importantly it’s a place where you can come to get a great education.”
The mayor spoke about how important his main priority of not wasting taxpayer dollars is, and how he plans to bring these ideals of responsible spending down to Harrisburg.
“At the top of my list, and it’s been at the top of my list as Mayor of Slippery Rock, is fiscal responsibility,” Longo said. “Making sure that whenever it comes to the spending of taxpayer dollars, that we are being good stewards of the taxpayer’s dollars.”
Longo’s potential campaign all hinges on the passing of the newly proposed legislative districts but those plans might not be finalized for weeks.
Redistricting plans have stalled within the Pennsylvania commission in charge of drawing up new maps for legislative and congressional districts. The redistricting commission will have until Sunday to select a final map. If they don’t, it’ll be up to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court to either select a proposed map or draw one.
Proposals for the new maps were to be submitted to the Commonwealth Court Jan. 24.
The proposed map received nearly 6,000 comments from the public last week. That map will create a newly formed 8th District for the Pennsylvania House – which will include both Slippery Rock Borough and parts of Slippery Rock Township – covering nearly 65,000 residents in Butler County.
Currently, Pennsylvania Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-PA10) serves the Slippery Rock Borough and Township.
When the new districts are decided upon, many of Longo’s supporters are excited to see what he does next, including long-time supporter George Ferrari of Butler.
“He’s moving on to the next step,” Ferrari said of Longo’s political future.
Updated Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022:
Last Friday, the Pennsylvania State Legislature approved its new legislative district map based on the 2020 census.
Slippery Rock’s Mayor Jondavid Longo held an event at the North Country Brewing Co. Tap House at the end of January, where he announced his intention to run for the new 8th Legislative District seat.
His intention to run hinged on the passing of the recently proposed legislative district mapping which would have left an open seat in the new 8th district. This new 8th district would have encapsulated Slippery Rock Borough.
But, republicans and democrats could not agree on the proposed map and both sides worked to carve out the new districts.
With the new map leaving no open districts, Longo told The Rocket he will not be considering a State House run.
Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-PA10) announced Feb. 6 he would run for re-election in the 8th District.
Those residing in the Borough of Slippery Rock will no longer be represented by Bernstine and will fall under the newly drawn 17th District.
Compared to the 10th District, the 17th will see a 6.5% increase in white voters and a decrease of 3.8% of Black voters.
Pennsylvanians will go to the polls on May 17 to cast their votes in the midterm primary.