Mayor of Slippery Rock, PA
Background: Masters in Education from Slippery Rock University. JD Longo enlisted in the Marines straight after graduating from Beaver Area High School and he was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and the war on terror. JD is now the mayor of Slippery Rock, PA for over 3 years.
JD's motto is "Service Over Self."He practices what he preaches by donating 100% of his Mayoral Salary to local charities.
What made you want to run for mayor?
"I've been in this community since 2011, but I bought my home here in 2013, which is when I enrolled as an undergraduate student at Slippery Rock University... During that same year, I decided to run for mayor. I decided to run for it because I was a homeowner at that point for a few years, and I was inversted in what was going on in the community. I wasn't entirely ethused or happy with the level of services that were being provided to me as a taxpayer, and as a property owner, I wasn't satisfied with the exposure that the town was getting. The town really deserved a lot more exposure and attention than what it was getting. I devided to throw my hat into the race, and now I'm in my third year as mayor. It's been a great privilege.
What is your favorite thing about Slippery Rock?
Yeah, I fell in love with this town rather quickly. I came here around 2011 because my friends were going to school here at the time, and I just got off of active duty with the Marines. It was kind of like thirteenth grade for me, and when I got here, I just fell in love with the town. It’s got that small town USA feel, which I’ve really capitalized on since I took office. It’s a tightened community. People come together for all sorts of great causes and things from both the University and the town’s residents. We come together for the greater good of the community and I’ve always loved that. The walking down the sidewalks and seeing folks smile at each other. It’s not a thing that you see too often these days, but something felt special about Slippery Rock, and for a while I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I was able to tap into it whenever I ran for office. I realized quickly before I ran for office that not only do I want to go to school here, but I want to buy a home here and plant some roots, which is why I went from being a transient in 2011 to being a property owner in 2013.
What does community mean to you?
Our community is actually very diverse. I think that we get overlooked in terms of diversity in this community, and we see diversity and we see people of all races, colors, and creeds who have come to this community. Some were born here, some come as transplants to raise a family here, many decided to go to school here and ended up not leaving. When I think of community, and especially how much it relates to Slippery Rock, I think of exactly that. I think of how we have everyone from different races, colors, creeds, big and small, old and young, students and permanent residents alike, coming together for the greater good of our community, and what’s best for each other. That’s what I love about this place. Even during a time that we’re in right now, while political polarization is at an all time high, some of the best work I’ve done for this community has been with people who sit on the opposite side of the aisle from me. Dr. (I can’t make the name out) and I were able to work together despite our differences, God rest his soul. Politically speaking, he and I were able to get down to work for our community. That’s what’s great about small towns. At the end of the day, we’re family in a bunch of different ways. We’re sort of in the middle between Pittsburgh and Erie, so we have to take care of each other. When I think of community, I think of Slippery Rock.
Do you have a favorite memory of a library?
Yeah, I do! There was a time when I was a kid from when I was like five to ten when we lived in Sewickley. I lived on Thorn Street in an apartment. Just blocks away was the public library. I remember going in there for fun. I was so amazed just looking at the giant stacks and rows of books. I'd spend hours going through them and learning all sorts of new things. And the library was really cool for me, because I was born in 1990, so having computers in the house with internet service and the things we enjoy today wasn't really the case. It was neat to go into the library and use the computers there. I was always enamored with the library as a kid, and I was glad that I grew up so close to her.
What is your favorite thing about the SRCL?
Oh my. Well let me just start with Karen. She’s so cool and awesome in every way. It’s worth mentioning that I worked at North Country Brewing Company for five years while I was going to school. So I actually met Karen not as a librarian, but actually as a patron. She is completely and utterly devoted to the library and its patrons, especially its young ones, who I think are most in need of our resources like our public library. She’s always brought our University students into the fold, which is obvious in your involvement. I can’t speak highly enough of her.
There’s also the team that she has there as well. They’re always cordial and professional and we’re really lucky to have them there as well. They help to create that total package that I think is what keeps people coming back to the library and supporting it through patronage. I love that it’s not a traditional library, in the sense of it being a place where you would go when you need to be absolutely quiet. It’s a place to socialize. There’s always things going on there, especially for the kids, whether it’s painting, story time, playing with blocks, learning, and generally just having an upbeat time. There’s so many things that I could say about our library but those are the things that stick out most in my mind.
Did you know that the SRCL is funded entirely by donations?
We have great news! As of the December 2020 Slippery Rock Borough council meeting, the budget has been passed to include a 0.25 millage for the Slippery Rock Community Library from property taxes. This is absolutely the step in the right direction towards being eligible for state funding. This means about $5,000 of guaranteed funding towards the library.