Longtime Laurel Mayor Craig Moe isn’t looking back on losing the Prince George’s County primary election. Instead, he is going full steam ahead on continuing to serve the people of Laurel.
“Nothing has really changed for me quite frankly,” Moe said. “I didn’t make it and I’m continuing to be mayor.”
During the June primary, Moe, 58, unsuccessfully ran for the Prince George’s District 1 Council seat, which includes Laurel, Adelphi, Beltsville, Calverton, College Park, Montpelier, South Laurel, West Laurel and Vansville.
Former District 1 Councilmember Tom Dernoga, 59, won the seat. Both Democrats, the men were vying for the open seat that outgoing council member Mary A. Lehman holds. Lehman has served since January 2011 and is termed out from seeking re-election.
Moe had decided to run for council to further his work for his citizens as well as for all residents of the county.
First elected as mayor in March 2002, Moe was re-elected to his fourth term in November 2015, which ends in November 2019. Moe previously served six terms on city council prior to his inaugural mayoral election.
Michael Leszcz, president of the City Council, has supported Moe as Laurel’s mayor since he was first elected in March 2002. Leszcz, 71, served a brief stint as mayor after former Mayor Frank P. Casula died in office in 2001 from cancer. At the time, the role of mayor was “not the job” for Leszcz and he supported Moe to seek Casula’s seat.
“I supported Craig for mayor when he was [first] elected and told him I would support him for as long as he was mayor,” Leszcz said. “I’m willing to support the mayor no matter what he does.”
Leszcz, who has served on council for the past 23 years, said Moe and the council have “accomplished a great deal.”
“We continue to enhance the city to meet the needs of the citizens,” Leszcz said.
During his past 16 years as mayor, Moe and his administration have developed the Revitalization Overlay Program, allowing for the city to redevelop within city limits, including redeveloping the Laurel Mall into the Towne Centre at Laurel. He also established the Main Street Economic Development Program and Laurel’s first Arts Council, amongst other things.
Moe said he wants to continue the efforts with the city’s arts and entertainment district and economic development for Laurel.
Currently, Moe said his administration is looking at the city’s ethics ordinances and election laws, to make sure all candidates are aware of the ethics before running for office.
Moe also wants to establish a citizens task force to report on the feasibility of opening an animal shelter within the city,
Leszcz said Moe is “dedicated to the city.”
“I supported him in the election for county council and it’s important for the citizens of Laurel to have a stable fiscally responsible government of elected officials,” Leszcz said.
A graduate of Laurel High School, Moe has lived within Prince George’s County since 1959. In 1976, he joined the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department and hasserved as both the fire chief and president.