Laurel’s first Black mayor promises to seek community input
The city of Laurel, Maryland, will make history later this month when its first Black mayor is sworn in to office.
Mayor-elect Keith Sydnor was an activist and union organizer before holding his first elected office six years ago.
“I was following Laurel emails, figuring what’s going on in the community, and I saw, hey, city council race is up,” he said. “I said ‘wow,’ looked at the qualifications, saw the things I’ve done in my life, and I said, ‘You know what? I can do this.’”
Now poised to assume the mayor’s office, he said the first thing on his agenda will be getting community input to expand on the things he ran on: housing, economic development, the environment.
“Those things we’re going to continue to push, but holding meeting with the community, get them involved, as well, hear that input,” Sydnor said.
He said he will also draw on his experience, which includes 24 years of service in the U.S. Navy — 12 active duty and 12 in the reserves — including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also worked in law enforcement as a corrections officer and a federal pretrial services officer. And he’s been a teacher in Prince George’s County schools.
He said he’s a friend of education, and his law enforcement background will help shape his approach to reducing crime through coalition building.
“That coalition will be made up of faith-based leaders, returning citizens, high school students, business organizations, nonprofit organizations, and we’re going to talk about the root cause of crime,” Sydnor said.