Laurel Leader

Crary striving to cultivate greener Laurel

Looking back on her five years on the Laurel City Council, Donna Crary said there is one thing she is particularly proud of helping the city grow — its green initiatives.

But although she said she's proud of her success, she still thinks there is more to accomplish. That's why on Nov. 5 she will seek re-election to the City Council.


"I like serving; you get addicted to helping others," Crary said.

"There are some more things I want to get done. I want to see more security in the parks. I want to see a greener city."


Crary, 53, is a general practice attorney running for one of two seats in Ward 2. She, along with fellow Ward 2 incumbent Fred Smalls, are jointly campaigning with the other three incumbents as Team Laurel. Newcomer Thomas Matthews, who is jointly campaigning with the other two challengers, is also running in Ward 2.

During her most recent term, Crary said she is proud of adding to the city's building code to make it more environmentally friendly. She also touted improvements to the city's sidewalks and hopes that she can keep the momentum going toward making Laurel more bike and pedestrian friendly.

"It's always been important to me," Crary said about green issues. "Keeping the city clean and safe is wonderful."

Crary added that she supports the city's wave of economic development, in part, because it means more energy-efficient buildings and requires developers to make improvements to the environment.

Crary also said the economic development will allow the council to explore a tax break, which is a campaign promise also championed by her fellow incumbents.

"Once you have the Towne Centre Laurel going, you will have a larger tax base," Crary said. "I'd like to see the residents reap the benefit."

Crary said she and her fellow incumbents are supporting one another because the group is "workable."

"Nobody sticks their feet in cement and that's what's important," she said. "It is a good group, and that's not to say we don't have our disagreements. ... [But] we are willing to work together to achieve one goal. When you have people you can work with, it is huge."


When asked about specific issues in Ward 2, Crary said she doesn't think about the city in terms of wards but as a whole.

"When you become a part of the team, you think about the whole city," Crary said.

Crary added that she thinks her track record with green issues and fiscal responsibility speaks for itself.

"I think I have been more than competent," Crary said. "I have my perspective and that adds to the discussion."

Ruth Walls, a city resident, said Crary is a caring, ethical and trustworthy person.

"She is a self-made woman. She has done everything on her own, and you don't find that very often," Walls said. "I have a lot of respect for her, and she is someone I really admire."


Walls added that Crary "is interested and cares, she is a very good listener and very fair. Put all that together, and that's someone worth voting for."

This is part of a series of profiles on candidates in this year's City Council elections.