Communication. Compromise. Community. Craig Moe said these three words jump-started his ambitions for the city as he planned projects to fulfill a promise after he was first elected mayor in 2002.
Thirteen years later, Moe's desire to serve his hometown is stronger than ever as he begins his fourth term as mayor of Laurel after winning re-election unopposed in the Tuesday's city election.
"One of the things I try to do is to open up the government and be more transparent," Moe said. "I'm very hopeful that we've done that. … I've always said that when I run out of ideas of where we should be going, it's time for somebody else to move into the mayor's position."
Many things have changed during his years as mayor, Moe said, with city growth, ongoing development and even new faces. But he maintains the transformation has only been positive for the city, making it a highlighted destination for new families.
"We're seeing a push-out from Baltimore and Washington, D.C., where people want to move to the Laurel area," Moe said. "I think that's probably something that we saw some of when I first started, but we continue to see a lot more of that for this area. We've also added some staff during my time where we thought was the appropriate place to put them, police officers in particular."
"That was very time-consuming. That took a lot of time, a lot of energy and a lot of staff," Moe said. "Even when it first started, many of the community members were involved in what they wanted to see over there."
While the project's rocky start made the new Towne Center a risky challenge, Moe said the work ethic of Greenberg Gibbons development company was supportive of him, the council and the community, addressing everyone's needs. The city council members work together the same way, he said.
"I can't do anything without a council that works with me and they've been very supportive and I appreciate that," the mayor said. "A lot of people ask me, 'How do you get along with your council so well?' I said, 'I talk to them. They talk to me.' It's a two-way street. They understand it isn't about them and it isn't about me; it's about the community."
With that thought in mind, Moe assured his vision still shines brightly as he collects ideas for ongoing and upcoming projects. Recently, the city's range of economic development has been seen in new LED lights along Main Street as well as new businesses on the street, including White's Barber Co. and Aroma Cigar Lounge. New businesses are on their way, Moe said, with two projects he hopes to announce within the next year.
Advancements in technology may also allow the city to try virtual town hall meetings on Twitter, he said, and help the Laurel TV crew provide even more broadcast news.
"There will also be some internal changes that I think will help each of the departments," Moe added. "I'd like to work with the police chief. I think it's important with all that's going on to really focus on community efforts with the Police Department."
"I like the local government and I think it's closest to the people. When you mess up, you hear about it," Moe said. "I got a lot of good feedback from people and it was positive. I looked at what I tried to say I was going to do four years ago and I think I've fulfilled those promises."