Voters guide to candidates in Laurel City Council elections

Laurel Leader

Each candidate was asked to provide the same information for the voters guide. Their responses are below:

Michael R. Leszcz

Seeking 11th term on Council, seventh term at-large

Age: 71

Education: Arundel High School, Gambrills; St. John’s University, Queens, N.Y.; Canal Zone College, LaBoca, Panama; Delaware State University, Dover, DE.

Length of Laurel residency: After two years in the military, I returned to Laurel to marry my high school sweetheart. Soon after, we purchased a home and have resided on Prince George Street since 1972.

Why seeking re-election: I have demonstrated and want to continue to serve the citizens of Laurel well as I have spent the majority of my life working for the betterment of our city. We have a balanced budget and the economy and the employment market in the city is stable/improving. I promise to give my all toward moving Laurel forward in behalf of all city residents.

Jeffrey Warren Mills

Seeking first term as at-large Council member

Age: 45

Education: Graduated from DuVal High School; Howard, Anne Arundel and Prince George’s community colleges

Length of Laurel residency: Seven years

Why seeking office: I am seeking office because I would like to see The REAL Team Laurel feel invested in our community. I believe that every member has the right to belong, feel welcome, and have some influence in our community issues. Laurel’s moto is “progressio per populum,” Latin for progress through people. I’m a business owner and I invest in people. When you help people grow, you grow. My platform is Jobs, Safety & Infrastructure.

Carl DeWalt

Seeking first term as Ward 1 Council member

Age: 62

Education: University of Cincinnati, Associate in Science (law enforcement); Bachelor of Science (criminal justice). Northwestern University, Police Staff and Command

Length of Laurel residency: 32 Years

Why seeking office: Establish integrity, government transparency and safety initiatives, so together we can seek solutions to situations in our community that cause fear or threatens our quality of life. Tax breaks for “Time Honored” Laurel residents. Stop the massive proposed Patuxent Greens development project. Improve and execute safety measures along Main Street to help protect our seniors, merchants and citizens. A fair and equitable hiring and promotion system based on merit, experience, education and community service within our city. Marcus Colbert.

Valerie M.A. Nicholas

Seeking fourth term as Ward 1 Council member

Age: 53

Length of Laurel Residency: Since 2001

Why seeking re-election: I am seeking re-election because I enjoy helping people. Being a public servant has been a lifelong dream, and I am delighted to serve with all my heart. If re-elected, I will continue to address the needs in the community by listening to the residents and making the best possible decisions to meet their needs. It has been an honor and my pleasure to serve since 2011, and I look forward to providing continued service to the Ward 1 community.

H. Edward Ricks

Seeking fourth term as Ward 1 Council member

Age: 73

Education: Some college

Length of Laurel Residency: Life resident

Why seeking re-election: I seek re-election to my fourth term to continue my work on issues such as public transportation, our city hospital, public safety and good paying jobs, to name a few. I will work to keep the city moving forward, on keeping Laurel green and clean, and safe. I have shown leadership and fiscal responsibility.

Tommy Matthews

Seeking first term as Ward 2 Council member

Age: 56

Length of Laurel Residency: 56 years resident of Laurel

Education: High school graduation, some college

Why seeking office: As a youth growing up in Laurel it has always been my desire to serve people. As a Laurel native and long time organizer/civic leader I have served the Laurel Grove community for many years. As a council person I would look to enhance community policing and increase public community cohesion, enhance the city’s involvement in our schools so youth have more options so they stay out of trouble, and deal with any other issues the citizens of Laurel may have. On Election Day vote the peoples choice: Matthews, Mills and Rousseau.

Adrian Rousseau

Seeking first term as Ward 2 Council member

Age: 54

Education: Laurel High School grad

Length of Laurel residency: 47 years

Why seeking office: Seeking office to take care of the youth in our community and be sure we are servicing the young people of the community. I am the president of the Laurel Boys and Girls Club and have been a volunteer for over 30 years and know firsthand what the city does and does not do for the kids in our community. Time to look out for our kids and work with the schools in our city.

Frederick Smalls

Seeking eighth term as Ward 2 Council member

Age: 67

Education: AA degree - advertising design; diploma in paralegal studies, Catholic University

Length of Laurel residency: 25 years

Why seeking re-election: My decision to run for office is influenced by my desire to serve and contribute to my community. I have learned to listen well and communicate clearly. I believe involvement in our local government is essential because the actions of local representatives have a large impact on our everyday lives. I believe my skill set as a consensus builder and my ability to think outside the box offer proactive approaches with positive solution.

Keith Sydnor

Seeking first term as Ward 2 Council member

Age: 49

Education: Bachelor of Individualized Studies with the core curriculum in sociology; Virginia State University

Length of Laurel residency: 15 years

Why seeking office: I got into this race to bring ordinary people like you and I to the same table to create better solutions and improved ideas that will keep our community first. On the Laurel City Council, I will work hard every day to make sure that our community is always involved in the decision-making process and that our ideas and opinions are always valued. I know that working together, nothing is impossible.

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