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Former Laurel Council Member Eyes Mayoral Office

Sarich to focus on economic development, engaging residents.

After a five-year break from elected office, former Laurel Council member Michael Sarich is aiming to get back into city politics by making a run for mayor.

Sarich, 38, served as a council member for Ward 2 from 2002 to 2008 but left office to pursue a law degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. In that time he has gotten married and is expecting his first child next year, and he says his commitment and engagement with the community never waivered.

 “I have a vision and a plan for the community that’s realistic and achievable,” he said.

His vision includes aggressively expanding the commercial tax base along Main Street, an area he said does not capitalize on its proximity to a MARC station and I-95.

He said he wants to attract businesses and fill vacant store fronts, resulting in more shopping options for Laurel residents who would then pay lower property taxes because of an increase in commercial tax revenues.

“The average citizen in Laurel in subsidizing the lack of investments in Main Street and Laurel,” he said. “It’s a vicious cycle…They’re subsidizing the failure of Laurel.”

But before Sarich can attempt to revitalize Main Street, he’ll need to convince voters to come out to the polls Nov. 1 and defeat Mayor Craig A. Moe who is seeking a third term in office.

In a city of more than 20,000, only 408 voters turned out for the last general election in 2008, according to records. In 2009, there were 13,647 registered.

Sarich has been critical of Moe for the Laurel Lakes path earlier this summer and the city council for not adequately embracing  the diversity of Laurel within the city government, he said.

Sarich called Moe’s decision to close the Laurel Lakes path one of the most “inappropriate “ administrative decisions in recent years.

“As mayor, I am not going to close parks. We’re going to open parks,” he said. "I’m not running against Moe, I am running for Laurel.”

City Hall, he said, would also see leadership changes that would reflect the racial diversity within the city.

“There are likely to be staff adjustments,” he said. “People think [Laurel] is Mayberry but we’re not, we can’t afford to act like we’re in” a small town.

Sarich's supporters agree Laurel should move past its small town image.

Resident Carlos Garcia, who owns in the city, said changes are needed to spur growth.

"As a resident and business owner in Laurel, I feel like we have an administration that is completely out of touch," he said. "Mike is very connected. He is very pro-business. I feel like he has a vision."

Chantel Upshur-Myles, a Sarich supporter, said that he always has the community at heart.

"I believe in what he's doing--his values," she said. "He's tapped into the heartbeat of the City of Laurel. We need change."

**Editor's Note** This profile is apart of our ongoing coverage of the . Click and to see additional coverage.

oldtwnlaurel October 11, 2011 at 06:24 PM
Far to often in Prince George's County "Diversity" is part and parcel of the stated belief of former Sheriff Jackson that only Blacks should serve in public office, or at least whites who will do as they are told. And so yes, his statement can and should be read that what I said above is going to be his reasoning to fire people in order to "diversify." I do have a sneaking suspicion that he'll do it in order to get petty revenge, but I am unsure if that is better.
oldtwnlaurel October 11, 2011 at 07:24 PM
Additionally, Ms Washington, there is a national economic downturn. There is precious little the city can do in the face of it. That things are not worse (i.e.: closer to the national average) should be seen as a good thing. You mention "record numbers" by what are you measuring that? It may be illustrative to know that most new businesses fail. Much of the rest you have to say borders on the insulting.
oldtwnlaurel October 11, 2011 at 07:31 PM
And now rumor reaches me, from multiple sources, that the Man of The People has been wandering around City Hall making his threats of dismissal personally to city employees. Is that sort of bullying what we want in Mayor?
CarolD October 14, 2011 at 01:15 AM
Laurel is a diverse city; and we are about to have the most diverse Mayor and City Council ever: two women, two African Americans, two white males, one gay white male. Can it get any better? This is great; it is exciting. It will make for great press for the great things Mayor Moe and the City Council will do in the next term. What's up with the bullying? Say it aint so! And what part of almost 200 years of institutional memory and experience is he going to remove, and who are the replacements? I don't believe, and have seen nothing, to give me comfort that Mr. Sarich can manage a large operational budget when he couldn't manage 3 smaller ones to the point the State had to place liens on him. Now I'm concerned over who is being replaced, which is definitely his perogative, and with whom. Since he doesn't have the budget experience, I'd like to know more about his plans for his Administration. I want to know if his replacements have the executive and government experience he is so lacking. I also want to know why he thinks gays are not part of Laurel's diversity. I note he has commended Mr. Ricks for taking down the photos on his facebook page while leaving the link to the original Patch article on his own facebook page. What does this say? I want to know more specifics about Mr. Sarich's plans, if he has any, than the lack-of-substance rhetoric he espouses. Seems like his mantra is get elected first, worry about the City afterward.
Peter Lewnes October 21, 2011 at 11:59 AM
GM Carol and I agree with YOU 100%! I had the terrible misfortune of Sarich and body gaurd (campaign manager) visiting my home yesterday with threats being made to me! LPD was notified and another visit by him will be considered "criminal trespass" and he will be arrested! A restraining order may also be put into place. Just another "BULLYING" tatic on his part. Word around the city now has him making threats to current city employees about who will be TERMINATED if elected to office! Seems to me that his campaign is really nothing more but a vendetta against those who oppose his campaign or who saw fit to bring him up on ethnic charges while on the City Council! A vote for the current Mayor and City Council will keep our City safe and diverse!

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