STRASBURG — Town resident Marlin Dixon has announced a bid for mayor.
Running on a platform that includes working with residents to help meet community needs and encouraging more participation at town meetings, Dixon, 53, said he cast his hat in the ring to fill a seat he anticipates becoming vacant and not to push aside Mayor Richard Orndorff Jr.
“I don’t think he’s going to win the next election,” Dixon said on Thursday.
Strasburg’s mayoral election is scheduled for May, and Orndorff’s term ends June 30.
A first-time candidate, Dixon said he chose to run now because he doesn’t see Orndorff winning another election, should he choose to run again.
Though Dixon thinks Orndorff is a good mayor, he has mixed feelings on the mayor’s choices.
“I think he does his job and does his job well,” Dixon said. “I think the town is tired of having a mayor who has problem after problem.”
Orndorff, who crashed a John Deere Gator recreational vehicle into the town library on May 17, is accused by Virginia State Police of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving a utility vehicle on a state highway. This was his second DUI charge in five years’ time.
In May 2015, he pleaded guilty to drunk driving and was ordered to pay a $250 fine.
In May 2004, he pleaded guilty in Shenandoah County Circuit Court to assault and battery on a family member. He pleaded guilty to the same charge in Circuit Court about three months later.
In September, Orndorff was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of unauthorized use of "devices" that could include food stamps or electronic benefit transfer cards.
Orndorff is also contesting a petition filed against him by town residents to remove him from office. On Nov. 1, a Circuit Court judge stayed the petition case. It's unclear if Strasburg will be forced to pay Orndorff's legal fees to defend himself against the petition.
Asked on his thoughts, Dixon reiterated having "mixed feelings," but added, "If you have to defend yourself, you should have to pay your own legal fees."
Orndorff has not yet announced his candidacy for the next election. So far, Don Le Vine, a former Town Council member who lost a bid for mayor in the 2016 election, is the only other candidate.
Dixon, who grew up in a large family in Altoona, Pennsylvania, stated in an email to the Northern Virginia Daily that he “sees the potential for change” and believes he “can make a difference” in a town he loves.
He credits his mother with encouraging him to follow his dreams. At the age of 18, he said, he left home with only $14 in his pocket to forge a new life in Alexandria.
An explosive technician, he has lived in Strasburg for 20 years and has raised his children in Strasburg schools.
Dixon said he also will:
- Work with the Virginia Department of Transportation to implement good, accessible detour routes through town for better traffic control
- Work to gain resources through churches and organizations in town to assist the homeless population and poverty-stricken families
- Support small businesses and fight to lower taxes to support small business growth
- Work hands-on with the Town Council to carefully budget and monitor all monies coming in from the taxpayers in town
- Encourage and promote a recycling program
- Be a man of integrity and honesty and fight for all residents of Strasburg
- Promote the historic value of Strasburg and encourage tourism
He believes in supporting first responders and veterans and plans to work with and listen to town residents.
“I think Strasburg needs a new direction,” he said.