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Voters guide to Laurel city candidates in Nov. 3 election

Two challengers, Carl DeWalt, left, and Jeffrey Mills, second from left, have entered the race for the two city council seats in Ward 1, while incumbent council members H. Edward Ricks, center, and Valerie Nicholas, right, are running for re-election. In Ward 2, Mansoor Zia joins incumbent council members Donna Crary and Frederick Smalls.
Two challengers, Carl DeWalt, left, and Jeffrey Mills, second from left, have entered the race for the two city council seats in Ward 1, while incumbent council members H. Edward Ricks, center, and Valerie Nicholas, right, are running for re-election. In Ward 2, Mansoor Zia joins incumbent council members Donna Crary and Frederick Smalls. (Staff photo by Andrew Michaels)

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

Craig Moe
Craig Moe

Craig Moe

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Seeking fourth term as mayor

Age: 55

Education: Graduate Class of 1977, Laurel Senior High School

Length of Laurel residency: 29 years in the city of Laurel

Why seeking office: I am running for re-election to continue the forward progress we have made the past four years. I will involve the community in government, continue improvements in economic development and work with our Police Department to continue to reach out to the community. Information defining my vision and goals can be found at my website.

Campaign website: www.mayorcraigmoe.com

Twitter: @laurelmayor

Michael Leszcz
Michael Leszcz

Michael Leszcz

Seeking 10th term on Council, seventh term at-large

Age: 68

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

Length of Laurel residency: 46 years

Why seeking office: Since elected to the City Council 19 years ago, working with the mayor and councilmembers, I have brought my analytical and decision making skills to bear to ensure that all of our city residents are provided outstanding municipal services and their taxes are well spent to ensure that the city is on a firm financial footing while meeting their needs.

Campaign website: None – I can be reached by phone at our home, 301-776-3963, or many residents stop by at our home on the corner of Fourth and Prince George streets to discuss an issue or just talk.

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Carl DeWalt
Carl DeWalt (Nate Pesce / Patuxent Homestead)

Carl W. DeWalt

Seeking first term as Ward 1 Council member

Age: 60

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

Length of Laurel residency: 30+ years as resident; 28 years as Laurel police officer

Why seeking office: A "Strong Voice" for the city of Laurel citizens, employees and retirees! Keep Laurel Regional Hospital full service 24/7 acute care hospital. "Save Our Stop." Support assigning a police officer to Main Street corridor. Oversee city's healthcare insurance. Reestablish the Community Policing Philosophy. If elected to City Council, will pledge entire salary to "Operation Second Chance." Keep Laurel safe.

Jeffrey Mills
Jeffrey Mills

Jeffrey Mills

Seeking first term as Ward 1 Council member

Age: 43

Education: Graduated from DuVal High School with some college from PGCC, HCC and ACC.

Length of Laurel residency: 8 years

Why seeking office: Because the people asked me to run.

Valerie Nicholas
Valerie Nicholas

Valerie Nicholas

Seeking third term as Ward 1 Council member

Age: 51

Education: Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government (executive fellowship)

Length of Laurel Residency: 14 years

Why seeking office: The passion to serve is innate to my existence. Being a public servant is a privilege and a role to which I am called. I love my Laurel community and I find it an honor to serve our residents.

H. Edward Ricks
H. Edward Ricks

Hayes Edward Ricks

Seeking third term as Ward 1 Council member

Age: 71

Education: Some college

Length of Laurel residency: Life resident

Why seeking office: As a life long resident, I care very much for the city of Laurel and its residents. It has been an honor to serve as a City Councilman for Ward 1 for the last four years. The city has grown in a smart way and I have always tried to keep green in mind as we grow. It has been very rewarding to serve as point person for the city to "Save our Stop" and I would like to continue my work to its successful conclusion. I believe the leadership that I have shown during my term as President of the Council demonstrates principled type of person that I am. Please vote for me as your Councilman Ward 1.

Donna Crary
Donna Crary (Patuxent Publishing)

Donna Crary

Seeking fourth term as Ward 2 Council member

Education: B.A. Magna Cum Laude Bowie State University; Juris Dr., University of Baltimore

Length of Laurel residency: 30 years

Why seeking office: I decided to run for office because I wanted to give more of myself to the community. The issues I felt were important seemed to be the same ones that would serve the community well. For example: creating the arts and theater district to expanding funding for a better equipped police force to keep the city residents safe. The mayor and the City Council have done a great job in serving and running this city in a fiscally responsible manner, especially considering these tough economic times. We're only as good as the employees that implement our ideas and based on that we're doing an excellent job.

Website: DonnaCrary.com, 301-725-2300

Frederick Smalls
Frederick Smalls (Nate Pesce / Patuxent Publishing)

Frederick Smalls

Seeking seventh term as Ward 2 Council member

Age: 65

Education: Associates Degree - Advertising Design

Length of Laurel residency: 29 years

Why seeking office: My inspiration rises from my desire to contribute to my community. I feel I have helped in the efforts to improve the quality of life in Laurel and I want to continue those efforts. Improving on the quality of life, creating economic growth, ensuring safe neighborhoods and fiscal stability are my primary objectives in running for office.

Mansoor Zia
Mansoor Zia

Mansoor Zia

Seeking first term as Ward 2 Council member

Age: 62

Education: MBA

Length of Laurel residency: 18 years

Why seeking office: Public service

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