MONESSEN (KDKA) — The economically hard-hit Mon Valley city of Monessen was one of Donald Trump’s stops in 2016, specifically, at the invitation of then-Democratic Mayor Lou Mavrakis.
“He’s telling me what I want to hear. No one else is saying that, so I have to believe the guy,” Mavrakis said on June 27, 2016, the eve of Trump’s visit.
Mavrakis’ support for a Republican cost him his seat, as Democrat Matt Shorraw, who was among the protesters at the Trump visit, at age 26 defeated the incumbent in 2017.
“When Trump came to town, I didn’t agree with what Mayor Mavrakis was doing with the direction of the city, and that was kind of the icing on the cake,” Shorraw told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Thursday. “And I thought, you know, why not, let’s just jump in and see what happens.”
Shorraw defeated Mavrakis in the Democratic primary and then again in the November election when Mavrakis ran a write-in campaign.
Now Mayor Shorraw has joined four other Pennsylvania mayors in making a presidential endorsement of his own.
“I think Mayor Pete is a very authentic person,” he said. “I think that his proposals will benefit not only Monessen but the Pittsburgh region.”
On Wednesday, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the Sound Bend, Indiana Democrat, announced support from fifty mayors nationwide, including Shorraw in Monessen.
“He’s a fellow Millennial, a veteran, and a mayor,” Mayor Shorraw said. “He can address those very minute details of issues affecting not only cities but rural America, and him being in the Midwest and rust belt he sees those issues day-to-day.”
Shorraw says Trump hasn’t really delivered much to the Mon Valley, especially to working people when it comes to trade and jobs.
Shorraw: I don’t know that they are seeing any benefits out of this.
Delano: So from your standpoint, Trump is weaker today in your part of the Mon Valley than he was in 2016?
Shorraw: I think so.
But taking a page from Trump’s playbook, however, Shorraw would love Mayor Pete to come to Monessen.
“He is more than welcome to visit,” Shorraw said.