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Mayor Robert Reid brings historic political career to a close - abc27 WHTM

Middletown mayor brings historic political career to a close

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) -

Mayor Robert Reid was born and raised in Middletown and still proudly calls the borough home. But now he's looking forward to life away from politics.

As he closes in on his 81st birthday, Reid is also closing in on the end of a historic political career.

Reid was voted in as a borough council member in 1968. "They took our area for granted, and we felt we were not being represented," he told abc27's Mark Hall. "And I thought maybe I could make a difference if I got elected and worked from within."

Reid served on council for 10 years, then he became Pennsylvania's first elected African American mayor, a distinction that was brought to his attention by a reporter soon after he took office.

The following year., in March of 1979, the Three Mile Island meltdown scare was on the world stage, and so was Reid. He promised those who left town that their homes would be protected after word got out that looters were targeting the borough.

"I issued an order to my police officers that looters would be shot, big headlines all over the world. I just felt no one had the right to come into my community and take advantage of people who were running in fear for their lives."

Reid spent nearly 40 years as a teacher in the local school district, and driving past a school named in his honor remains a humbling experience. "It's unbelievable there it is a school named after me."

Reid says he is looking forward to retiring from politics, but he plans on staying plugged into what's going on in the borough.

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