Candidates receive endorsements

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 11, which represents Laurel’s police officers, held a forum for city candidates on Sept. 20. The forum was restricted to FOP members and media. The FOP issued endorsements following the event.

Thirteen of 16 candidates for mayor and city council attended, and the FOP asked them a series of questions about what they thought of the police force’s performance and of the role of the FOP. 

All candidates said the police were doing a good job and were viewed favorably by residents. They all also supported the FOP’s collective bargaining for improvements in officers’ salaries and benefits. Several suggested that officers could spend more time talking with residents and business owners, and some noted that budget constraints had to be considered before police pensions could include cost-of-living increases. One mayoral candidate, Keith Sydnor, said the department should hire more women.

The FOP made the following endorsements: 

Mayor: Keith Sydnor

City council, Ward 1: Carl DeWalt and James Kole

City council, Ward 2: Kyla Clark and Melvin Lindsley

City council, At-Large: Adrian Simmons

Candidates reported the following endorsements

Martin Mitchell for mayor: Progressive Maryland, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1994, UFCW Local 400, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500, Casa In Action, Life After Release, state Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk (District 21), Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (At-Large), Prince George’s County Councilmember Krystal Oriadha (District 7), Greenbelt City Councilmember Ric Gordon, Colmar Manor Mayor Monica Casanas, Brentwood Mayor Rocio Treminio-Lopez, Mount Rainier Mayor Celina Benitez, Anne Arundel County Council Chair Peter Smith (District 1), Prince George’s County Board of Education member Jocelyn Route (At-Large)

Sophady Uong for mayor: Concrete General Inc. and Cambodian Americans for Human Rights and Democracy

Carl DeWalt for city council, Ward 1: UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers ) Local 1994

MCGEO (Municipal and County Government Employees Organization

James Kole for city council, Ward 1: LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, state Del. Mary Lehman (District 21), former Laurel Police Chief Richard McLaughlin, former Laurel City Councilmember Valerie Nicholas  (Ward 1)

Campaign sign tampering

Six candidates have reported to The Laurel Independent that some of their campaign signs have been vandalized or taken down.

Mayoral candidates Martin Mitchell, Brencis Smith and Sophady Uong, and city council candidates Kyla Clark, Thomas Matthews Jr. and Jeffrey Mills said some of their signs had been upended and left on the ground or had disappeared altogether. 

A damaged campaign sign for Brencis Smith.
Courtesy of Brencis Smith

Smith texted a photo Oct. 3 showing one of his signs at Route 1 and Contee Road that had been slashed from one side of its frame.

Smith noted that similar problems have occurred in past elections. “Last election cycle, in 2021, my signs were sliced with a knife, and I recall that happening to Mayor Moe’s signs in 2019 as well,” Smith said. “It’s beyond ridiculous, and it needs to stop.” 

Continuing election coverage

Between now and the Nov. 7 election, you can find breaking election news on our homepage. The November issue of The Laurel Independent will come out after city elections take place.