This is the third of three profiles of the candidates for Danvers selectman. Voters will elect two selectmen to serve three-year terms. The election is May 7.
DANVERS — David Mills may be best-known as a retired Massachusetts Appeals Court judge, but he describes himself as “a wharf rat from Danversport.”
Mills, whose home sits across Sylvan Street from Town Hall, can spin tales about a Danvers long gone. He remembers when the site of the Liberty Tree Mall was the former Mscisz Farm, where he learned how to milk cows.
With his long legal career in land use, Mills has a deep understanding of government to go along with his deep roots in town. Among other things, he was a former Middlesex assistant district attorney and worked in the state attorney general’s office in the 1970s.
In the mid-1970s, he established a law practice focused on urban land and its “use, misuse and reuse,” a role that brought him before many agencies and local government bodies.
After 11 years as an Appeals Court judge, Mills retired last year when he reached the mandatory retirement age.
As a judge, he had to give up town politics. With his retirement, however, the former town moderator has thrown his name into the hat for selectman.
“I want to reinvest myself in this town, which is really in a way the only hometown I’ve ever had. It is a place that is more than a hometown for me,” said Mills, who lives with his dog, an Australian Labradoodle named Honeybun.
Since he lives alone, being active in the community keeps him connected and relevant, he said.
Mills prides himself on a reputation for fairness as a judge, and he hopes to bring that to the role of selectman.
“I love the fact that while I was a judge for 11 years, people said, ‘You made me feel welcome in the courtroom,’” Mills said. As a judge, he told students who visited his courtroom that he worked for them.