The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

Alum Runs for Local Congressional Seat

Dixon cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of his campaign headquarters in Palo Alto.

From serving in Afghanistan and Iraq as an intelligence and infantry officer in the Marines to working in the State Department battling cartel and gender-based violence, Menlo alumnus Peter Dixon (‘01) is no stranger to tackling complex challenges.

Now, Dixon is running for Congress in California’s 16th Congressional District, which includes Menlo. The seat has been held by the retiring Anna Eshoo for over 30 years.

Dixon was born and raised in the Bay Area, and growing up in the startup capital of the world helped form Dixon’s entrepreneurial spirit. “When you grow up in Silicon Valley, you learn — really at a young age — that if you have transformative ideas, you’re able to leverage technology, build a team around it, assemble the necessary resources and are tremendously persistent, you can have world-changing outcomes,” Dixon said.

Dixon, who served as co-editor in chief of The Coat of Arms, joined Menlo School in seventh grade with his three siblings following soon after. He remembers his time at Menlo fondly. “Menlo really creates all these different pathways for people to explore what they’re passionate about, […] whether it’s working in a maker space or working in journalism, or all of these different [avenues],” Dixon said.

After graduating from Menlo in 2001, Dixon attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in political science. During his time at UNC, he was the vice president of the organization Carolina for Kibera, an organization that aims to improve the health and economy of settlements in Africa.

Dixon has a family history rooted in the military: his father served in the Navy, while his grandfather was a Marine. “The big North Star for me has been service and that’s certainly something that I got from my parents,” Dixon said. 

After graduating from UNC, Dixon followed that North Star by joining the Marine Corps. His military experience was a defining chapter in his life. “I’ve seen what it looks like when democracy fails. I’ve seen what it looks like when women have their rights stripped away,” Dixon said. 

“I served in the State Department after the Marine Corps and worked in combating cartel violence, worked in preventing gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and worked in the Pentagon,” Dixon said. 

After working for the government in the Marines and State Department, Dixon founded a cybersecurity company called Second Front Systems. Dixon’s company makes a software toolkit that allows commercial software developers to quickly comply with government software standards so that their existing software can be sold to and used by the government. 

In addition to founding Second Front Systems, Dixon co-founded With Honor, a cross-partisan organization that fights polarization by electing veterans. “So the great thing about veterans serving in Congress is that we’re not career politicians where we came up as being part of the party machine and thinking that the enemy was the folks across the political aisle,” Dixon said.

Reducing polarization is only one of the goals Dixon hopes to accomplish if he gets elected to Congress. Some key issues he said he hopes to address include protecting democracy, safeguarding reproductive rights, fighting climate change, tackling the housing crisis and establishing gun control laws. Due to his experience in Washington D.C. and time with With Honor, Dixon believes his record sets him apart from the other candidates. “I have a successful track record at the federal level, and I have a successful track record getting legislation passed in Congress,” Dixon said.

He is endorsed by New Politics — an organization working to elect veterans to Congress — and six current members of the House of Representatives, including Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, Rep. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Rep. Pat Ryan of New York and Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, all of whom are Democrats and military veterans.

“I’m a former tech CEO running my campaign like a startup, certainly at startup speed,” Dixon said. “So for anybody at Menlo who wants to come and knock on doors with me or be part of what a campaign — or startup campaign — looks like, our doors are open.”

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About the Contributor
Jacob Reich
Jacob Reich, Online Editor

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 3

Favorite aspect of journalism: My favorite aspect of being on the Coat of Arms staff is the opportunity to conduct interviews where I get to meet and learn about new people.

Interests outside of school: I enjoy sports, games (board & video), and politics.

Class of 2025

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