Laurel Mayor Craig Moe is the city’s longest-tenured mayor, having served 21 years. (Courtesy of Keston De Coteau / Keystone Productions)

Earlier this year, City of Laurel Mayor Craig Moe decided against running for reelection in November.

A native of Laurel, Moe is the city’s longest-tenured mayor, having served 21 years.

He was first elected mayor in 2002, and served continuously since that time.

Prior to serving as mayor, Moe served on the City Council for 12 years, beginning in 1990.

Last month, he looked back on his time as mayor in a casual conversation with The Business Monthly, and also looked forward to the next chapter of his life.

What’s next for you now?

I don’t have any plans yet, but I do plan on taking some time off to relax and do some things around my home that I put off. I am currently not looking at seeking any other political office at this time.

I’ve heard rumors that people think I’m leaving. I’m not moving anywhere. The county and the city mean a lot to me.

Any thoughts on what contributed to your longevity and popularity?

I hope that the residents feel that I have listened to them and responded to their concerns. My goals have always been about responding to the community and the needs of its residents, which I believe has led to my longevity and popularity.

Are you continuing to serve in any public capacity, or planning to make yourself available if the need arises in the future?

Yes, I plan on staying involved in the community and would like to give more time to the things that I was involved in before I became mayor. I have also received calls and requests to volunteer with different organizations.

Looking back on your five terms, what feeling comes to mind? Was such a long tenure even something you considered a possibility?

I had no idea that I would be involved in city government/elected office for as long as I have been. When I first ran for city council with the late Joe Robison and Steve Turney, we were told by a former city council member to “get in, do the job and get out; don’t stay too long.” Not sure I followed his advice.

What do you consider your most satisfying achievements?

I have been fortunate to part of so many great changes and additions to the city but if I had to name a few I would say: the construction of the city’s Multi-Service Center; adding an additional 25 acres of green space; obtaining a second pool, a skatepark, dog park and several other parks and play spaces; creating an affordable Housing Policy; Establishing the Department of Community Resources and Emergency Management; creating The Arts Council and the establishing the position of Environmental Programs Manager.

You stood up to Dimensions HealthCare and fought to keep Laurel Regional Hospital from its planned closure. What do you recall?

I think it is fair to say that the citizens, doctors and nurses stood up to Dimensions Healthcare. I learned about the plans to close the hospital from the morning news. I came to Municipal Center and started calling other elected officials and got us all together, and all were onboard. We sent many letters, had several meetings and phone calls. We did mailouts and took residents to Annapolis to testify on legislation. I supported the citizens, because the residents of the City of Laurel and Northern Prince George’s County deserve quality health care that is accessible.

Is there anything you know now that you wish you had known when you first took office? 

The commitment of hours it would take. I was surprised at how much time being mayor took.

What advice do you have for the next Mayor?

Work with the community, listen to your staff, and give it 100% to being Mayor.

Anything else you’d like to say to your constituents before you leave office?

Over the years I’ve met a lot of people who do a lot of things without fanfare, good things that others may never know about. That showed me what our community is all about, people are there for each other. I love Laurel and think it’s a great community. I wish the next Mayor and City Council the very best, because if they succeed, Laurel succeeds. It’s been challenging, but I really had a great time doing it. It’s tough to say this is it for me, but Laurel is changing and deserves to have a different set of eyes and leadership. Laurel has been great to me, and I appreciate all the friendships I’ve made here over the years. I’ve tried to do what’s right with a common sense approach.

Looking back, I’m proud to say this City has the most dedicated and hardworking employees and it’s been a pleasure to see so many of them become great leaders over my decades of service.

Laurel is home and will always be near and dear to my heart.