SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 2, 2014

Diane Langlais: 'A voice for those who grew up here and stayed'

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — Diane Langlais has served for one year on the Board of Selectmen and would like a chance at three more.

A former Finance Committee member, Langlais was appointed last year to fill a vacancy created when former Selectman Mike Powers resigned.

“I’ve always wanted to run for selectman, but I was just really happy on the FinCom,” said Langlais, a Danvers native. “I just think it’s the next step. I like this town and I like to see it move forward. I think I bring another voice, a different voice of people who have grown up here and have stayed here.”

Langlais, whose maiden name is Hennessey, grew up in the Woodvale neighborhood and graduated from Danvers High in 1977. She went on to North Shore Community College, then transferred to Merrimack College for her accounting degree. Her grown son, Gary, is a 2005 Danvers High graduate and recently became a lawyer.

Langlais is now a self-employed accountant, but spent 10 years on Beacon Hill in the 1970s and ’80s working in constituent services for state Rep. Joan Menard.

Not only has Langlais served on the Finance Committee, she was a member of the Danvers High design and construction advisory committee, which served as the building committee on the $70 million project.

As a selectman, she has continued her involvement, serving on a committee that has recommended a $6.5 million upgrade to the athletic fields at Danvers High, including a reorientation of the stadium at Deering Field and an artificial turf field. A new turf field will mean fewer canceled games and no down time, she said, meaning more opportunities for youth sports to get playing time.

“It’s not just the turf field,” Langlais said, “the entire complex needs to be done.” The stadium is set out of the way at the back of the school, making it hard to reach for seniors.

“The field is outdated,” she said. “If you are going to do it, do it right.”

Langlais also serves on a dispatch center study committee that has recommended a $5.5 million addition to the police station. Town Meeting will consider the project later this month.

“The dispatch room is not functional. ... It’s almost like the wind-up telephone. ... It’s really outdated,” she said. She supports the town’s effort to line up other communities that may want to join a small, regional center in Danvers and share the cost of the project and running the center.

As for taxes, she thinks they are fair.

“This is a political kill for me,” Langlais said, “but I actually think the taxes in Danvers are good. I think they stayed steady. ... And if you are in a house and you are living within your means, you are paying the appropriate tax. I think for the services we demand in this town, I don’t feel the taxes are high.”

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

 

 

 

About DIANE LANGLAIS

Age: 54

Address: 48 Cabot Road

Family: One son, grown

Occupation: Accountant