After 12 years on the Laurel City Council, Mayor Craig Moe says he still believes he has unfinished business, including economic development and lowering property taxes as he makes his third bid for office.
Moe, 51, who works in the Maryland Transit Administration, is gearing up for the Nov. 1 election. He said that before deciding to seek another term, he reviewed whether or not he was still needed in office and if there were more he wanted to accomplish.
“I re-evaluated, like I always do when I run for office,” he said. “I felt like I had something” left to give.
That something includes seeing the completion of the Laurel Mall redevelopment project, which after has begun to move along. This week, and a movie theatre chain have signed on to be part of the project.
“The town center is going to happen," he said, "not at everyone’s fast pace.”
Moe also said he wants to see fewer vacancies on Main Street. His administration has been criticized for failing to attract or maintain businesses in the city center.
There are 127 businesses along Main Street, with 12 vacancies, according to city records.
“It’s easy to take shots at the guy on top,” he said. “Would I like to see some of the vacancies filled? Absolutely. But the city doesn’t own those properties.”
The Laurel city election is one of the most contentious in years. Former Laurel Councilman and Ethics Commissioner are challenging Moe.
“I’m going to work harder,” he said. “I understand I get shots taken at me.”
Moe has been criticized by his opponents for a lack of diversity on the city council and a perception that he has not engaged citizens outside of Ward 1.
“I’m very cognitive of what managerial staff I have here,” he said. “Our work force is very diverse. I think it’s important to have diversity.”
Moe cites his appointment of a female as city administrator and two African-Americans to head the Laurel Police Department and the city’s planning department in the past.
“I’ll let my actions speak more than my words and let that pay dividends,” he said.
His actions have won him the support of elected officials and .
“Mayor Moe has been a leader in Prince George’s County and always works hard to get the best results for Laurel residents,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker in a statement. “He has been able to open many doors and works well with others to get things done.”
Donna Ault-Curp, a Laurel business owner, said she’s been a part of the community for 20 years and supports Moe.
“…He has worked hard to keep local businesses while attracting new ones,” she said in a statement. “He is the right person to be our mayor.”
Stick with Laurel Patch for our exclusive election 2011 coverage, including a live interview with the winner of the mayor’s race Tuesday, Nov. 1.