The election for Laurel mayor and city council will be Nov. 7 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with one day of early voting on Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Citizens registered to vote through the state of Maryland or Prince George’s County are eligible to vote in the city election. Same-day registration is also possible; citizens must bring a state-issued identification card and a utility bill showing their address of residence. 

The polling places are the Laurel Municipal Center, 8103 Sandy Spring Road, for Ward 1, and the DiPietro Community Center, 7901 Cypress Street, for Ward 2. A map of ward boundaries can be found on the city’s website at

Voters can hear the candidates respond to questions at two candidate forums hosted by The Laurel Board of Trade. Candidates for city council will appear on Oct. 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the council chambers of the Laurel Municipal Center, 8103 Sandy Spring Road. A forum for mayoral candidates will be Oct. 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the same location. Residents can attend the forums in person or access them through Laurel TV — Verizon FiOS Channel 12 or Comcast Channel 996 or 71 — or through live-streaming at

To view elections results on Nov. 8, go to the city’s website,, or The Laurel Independent’s site at


Five candidates are running for mayor: Seeta Deonauth, Martin Mitchell, Brencis Smith, Keith Sydnor and Sophady Uong. Two of the candidates were profiled in the September issue of The Laurel Independent, and two more are profiled in this issue. The fifth candidate, Deonauth, has not responded to our attempts to contact her.


Eleven candidates are running for city council. Below are their answers to a basic set of questions;  we have edited their answers for brevity. Photos of the candidates are included if they were submitted.


WARD 1 (two seats)

VG Carl DeWalt headshot 2023
Carl DeWalt
Courtesy of Carl DeWalt

Carl DeWalt, 68,  in Laurel 38 years

Grew up: Western Pennsylvania

Education: B.S. in criminal justice, Northwestern University; Associate in Science in law enforcement, University of Cincinnati; Police staff and command graduate of the Maryland Municipal League Academy for Excellence In Local Governance  

Occupation: Laurel police officer 28 years (retired) 

Special interests, hobbies and civic involvement combined: Laurel City Council since 2017, American Legion Post #60, Laurel Cats, Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services (LARS), fundraiser at Oliver’s Saloon to support families for Christmas, Brighter Brites, neighborhood clean-ups, The History Boys – Voices of Laurel newspaper

Why running:  If re-elected, I will continue to work on the many concerns of our citizens of Laurel: rent stabilization, speeding vehicles through our neighborhoods, stop excessive high-density development in our city and to make Laurel more walkable with safety as a priority. Now that Laurel will be getting a new mayor as of November 2023,  I feel as though our hands will no longer be tied. This will enable the council to work as a close committee and perform our duties as described in the City Charter, which will ultimately enhance more government transparency. Support unionization for DPW and all city employees. Displaying the Hometown Hero banners on Main Street.

VG James Kole
James Kole
Courtesy of James Kole

James Kole, 34, in Laurel 11 years

Grew up: North-central Pennsylvania 

Education: B.S. in landscape contracting, Penn State University

Occupation: Branch manager for commercial landscape company in D.C. 

Civic involvement: Laurel City Council since 2021, Laurel Historical Society, Laurel for the Patuxent, Laurel Board of Trade, city Environmental Affairs Committee, city Pride Day Committee, city Historic District Commission, formerly on city Ethics Commission 

Special interests: Gardening, entertaining friends, helping others 

Why running:  To make Laurel better for everyone. I support fiscal responsibility, increased sustainability initiatives and increased traffic-calming measures.

Connie Lucas, in Laurel 35-plus years    

Grew up: Berwyn

Education: College financial classes, no degree

Occupation: Office manager, retired 

Civic involvement: I always voted but was never politically involved. Since my grandchildren came along, I’ve become more aware of Maryland’s state of affairs that trickle down to our municipalities

Special interests: Taking care of family and watching mainstream and subscription (OAN, etc.) media on television to obtain a general picture of what is taking place in the USA and the world

Why running: See my ad in this issue explaining what I stand for, what I oppose and what I want for Laurel.  We need to support our police, and I favor a moratorium on raising city taxes (without diminishing city employees’ wages or benefits).

VG Stephen J. Wallace headshot
Stephen J. Wallace
Courtesy of Stephen J. Wallace

Stephen J. Wallace, 39, in Laurel 13 years

Grew up: Endwell, New York

Education: B.A. in history and computer information science, Franciscan University of Steubenville; J.D. at University of Notre Dame Law School

Occupation: Estate planning attorney with the Downs Law Firm on Main Street

Civic involvement: Executive director of Maryland nonprofit for seven years, volunteer, teacher and coach for basketball and soccer at St. Mary of the Mills, Knights of Columbus, various nonprofit board memberships and volunteer work

Special interests: Faithful Catholic, active athlete in basketball and football, reading, board games, Michigan and Notre Dame football, camping, hiking. 

Why running: Being a husband, a father of five, a coach and a leader, have taught me the importance of sacrifice and teamwork for a greater good.  I will work to make our city safer and more prosperous for ourselves and our children.  


WARD 2 (two seats)

VG KylaClark Headshot 1
Kyla Clark
Courtesy of Kyla Clark

Kyla Clark, 44, in Laurel nine years     

Grew up: Syracuse, New York

Education: B.S. from Le Moyne College, MBA from American Intercontinental University

Occupation: Stormwater management communications specialist and marketing/human resources consultant (woman-owned business)

Civic involvement:  Vice chair, city Environmental Affairs Committee, member city Citizens Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities, Prince George’s County election judge, volunteer court-appointed advocate for neglected and abused children

Special interests: Gardening, volunteering, family time

Why running: The time is right for a female leader to be a part of the council, who has a unique perspective, experience and is not afraid to ask the tough questions.

VG Melvin Lindsley
Melvin Lindsley
Courtesy of Melvin Lindsley

Melvin E. Lindsley, 75, in Laurel 22 years

Grew up: Tennessee

Education: B.A. in criminal justice from American University, MDiv and MA in biblical studies from Capital Bible Seminary and Lancaster Bible College, PhD candidate at Capital Bible Seminary 

Occupation: U.S. Marine Corps (with one year combat in Vietnam), 20 years in law enforcement, small-business owner and consultant in waste-management industry

Civic involvement: President of Ashford Homeowners Association, former vice president of Allentown Boys & Girls Club in southern Prince George’s County, JV/varsity football coach at High Point High School 

Special interests: Church, fishing, golfing, motorcycle riding, chess

Why running: As a veteran, public servant and small-business owner, I have the experience in marketing, business and finance, public safety, public works and community service necessary to be an effective council member.

VG Thomas Matthews Jr
Thomas Matthews Jr.
Courtesy of Thomas Matthews Jr.

Thomas Matthews Jr., 62 

Grew up: Laurel 

Education: High school graduate, U.S. Army Motor Transport School

Occupation: Assistant funeral director 

Civic involvement: Chairman of Laurel’s Emancipation Day Celebration, NAACP member, Prince Hall Master Mason, Commander of American Legion Post 235 in Beltsville 

Why running:  Becoming a council member will allow me to provide services to my community, make the required changes to address the current climate of our community needs, and build a long, effective relationship with the citizens of Laurel.

VG Jeffrey Mills
Jeffrey Mills
Courtesy of Jeffrey Mills

Jeffrey W. Mills, 51, in Laurel 13 years

Grew up: Seat Pleasant

Education: Attended Prince George’s, Anne Arundel and Howard community colleges

Occupation: CEO of the CDL BookClub LLC (commercial driver’s licenses) and driving coach

Civic involvement:  Civic association group of Seat Pleasant, member of Nation of Islam

Special interests: Race cars, fishing, skydiving, helping people grow

Why running:  Simply I’m for the people and the people are for Mills 


AT-LARGE (one seat)

VG Christine Johnson
Christine Johnson
Courtesy of Christine Johnson

Christine Johnson, 46, in Laurel 21 years

Grew up: Lanham

Education: B.A. in sociology, University of Maryland 

Occupation: Group administrator, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Civic involvement: Woman’s Club of Laurel, The Laurel Board of Trade, Friends of Laurel Library, coordinated city’s MLK Day of Service for six years 

Special interests: Volunteering, taking care of senior citizens, children’s literacy

Why running: As an active resident and at my previous job at city hall working the front desk, I heard and became aware of some of the issues Laurel citizens had. While I could answer some questions and direct them to different departments, I’ve always felt like I wanted to do more.

VG Enrico McCleary
Enrico McCleary
Courtesy of Enrico McCleary

Enrico McLeary II, 37, in Laurel nine years

Grew up: Loudoun County, Virginia

Education: B.A. in political science, Coppin State University; JD, Penn State Dickinson School of Law

Occupation: Private attorney — criminal defense, personal injury, family law, estate planning

Civic involvement: Laurel Boys and Girls Club board, counsel to Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation Foundation, volunteer speaker for Coppin State on real estate investing and estate planning

Why running: Laurel is where I chose to build my home and raise my family. I have encountered some constituents in the city who don’t believe the existing administration is open to hearing from everyone, and I want to assure that everyone is being heard and everyone is being treated fairly.

VG Adrian Simmons
Adrian Simmons
Courtesy of Adrian Simmons

Adrian Simmons,  44, lifelong in Laurel

Education: B.B.A. in accounting and MBA with concentration in finance, Loyola University of Maryland

Occupation: Certified Public Accountant, owns Elements CPA LLC on Main Street

Civic involvement: Raising three kids, Laurel Boys and Girls Club, Scouting (Eagle), Finance Advisory Council at St. Mary of the Mills Catholic Church, provides professional services to Laurel nonprofits at discount or pro bono 

Special interests: Cycling, letterpress printing, Orioles, coaching my kids’ teams 

Why running: To contribute to making Laurel a great place to live, work and play for residents and families. To preserve the uniqueness of who Laurel is, and to support its small-business community