Two challengers vying for mayoral spot as Shawn Reed exits scene
By Chadwick Dolgos
Coraopolis Mayor Shawn Reed will not be seeking a second term.
His January social media announcement came as a surprise to many but opened the window of opportunity for two candidates who petitioned to get on the ballot to become the next mayor of Coraopolis.
“I met both candidates and they seem like they care about the town and its future,” Reed said. “I would encourage voters to try and talk to both of them and find out if their views of the future of Coraopolis align with their own as a voter.”
Reed hopes to remain an active, private member of the community.
“My plan all along was just to run for one term,” Reed said. “I’m not a career politician.”
Reed will still be engaged with the borough through nonprofit Coraopolis Community Development Corporation (CCDC), where he serves as the vice president of the board. He also hopes to focus more time and resources on the train station project, a project to transform the one-time station into a multi use events center and cafe.
Following Reed’s announcement, career software engineer Michael Dixon said he felt a calling.
“I really want to continue what Shawn has kind of set up for the future of this town,” he said. “I want to continue to move us forward in the ways that he has done.”
If elected, Dixon promises to always keep the people’s best interests in mind and represent the changes they believe need to be made to the community.
“I feel like the mayor should be the servant leader of the people,” he said.
“It really shouldn’t matter what I think needs to be done, it matters more what the people of this borough think needs to be done.”
Upon moving to the borough in 2015 with his wife, Dixon said he wanted to contribute to making Coraopolis a town where people want to move to and raise their children.
“I want this to be a positive place and known as a destination in Pittsburgh where people want to live, shop, bring businesses and do all those things that we as citizens of Coraopolis have seen change in the last couple of years.”
Dixon has always had an interest in politics. He originally attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania to study music in the late '90s, but quickly changed his major to political science after being inspired by his American politics professor.
“I studied that stuff; I always had an interest in it,” he said.
After graduating from Robert Morris University with a master’s degree in internet information systems, Dixon made a name for himself in the legal software business, where he worked for Thomson-Reuters and Aderant. He then worked for Cigna Group Insurance before joining Dick’s Sporting Goods. He has also worked on contracts with larger local companies including PPG.
Council’s Robb Cardimen also said he wants to continue Mayor Reed’s approach to Coraopolis’ future while also addressing housekeeping issues that could make the borough a better investment for business and property owners old and new.
“I want to kind of continue [Reed’s] vision for the town and keep us on a fast track and a good
trajectory,” he said. “I would like to see us take a little better care of our downtown business district as far as keeping it clean.”
Some of these basic housekeeping items he would advocate for would include sweeping the streets more frequently and policing the trash bins in the area more often.
“I think Coraopolis is a great town,” he said. “I think we’re poised for a nice spurt of growth here in town, and I really want to keep us on track for harvesting those relationships that Mayor Reed has brought to the town as well as new relationships.”
Cardimen was born and raised in Coraopolis, with his family’s history in town extending back more than 100 years.
“My great uncle was a police officer down here in the 40s and the 50s,” he said.
Cardimen worked as a dispatcher at the police department in the early 1990s under Chief Howard White. He has been actively involved with the Coraopolis Fire Department since 1992 and has been an active member of the borough council since 2011, where he has served as both president and vice president.