Diana M. Szynal has dedicated her professional career to public service and bettering her community. She has done this through her work for Representative Kocot as well as serving as an elected official in Hatfield.
Diana’s work for the past 16 years is far from the beginning of her public service. As far back as high school, Diana was a voice for her peers where she served as the student liaison to the Smith Academy School Committee in the 1980‘s. Her first full time job in public service came when she worked as Town Secretary/Clerk to the Board of Selectmen for the Town of Hatfield in 1988. Eventually her knowledge of town government and procedures would lead to many years working as the Legal Assistant to a well-respected municipal attorney in Franklin County. It was during this time that Diana acquired a much deeper understanding of the complexities of public governing.
In 1998, Diana became the Municipal Specialist for the Hampshire Council of Governments and she honed her expertise in local governments and their needs. There she was charged with working towards regional solutions to problems that local municipalities had in collaborative ways. It was during this time that Diana first met Peter Kocot. She proudly became his campaign manager for Hatfield when he ran his first time for State Representative in 2002.
Upon his election, Peter chose Diana to be his Legislative Aide. She worked for Peter until his untimely passing in February of 2018. For those 16 years Diana was charged with supporting the Representative in all aspects throughout the district. Diana was the point person in the District providing constituent and community services. As such she has cultivated wonderful relationship with various state, local and non-profit agencies by maintaining ongoing contact on a wide variety of issues. Diana attended meetings and spoke at functions on behalf of the Representative.
Additionally, Diana was elected to the Hatfield Board of Selectmen in 2002. She served two terms and was chosen by her colleagues to chair the Board for 3 of those 6 years. Keeping up the trait of being chosen to lead by other leaders; Diana was voted to be President of the Hampshire County Selectmen’s Association as well as the Secretary and Second Vice President of the Massachusetts Selectmen’s Association. She spent two years on the Local Government Advisory Committee, which is a group of chief elected officials from communities throughout the state that meet with the Governor once a month to discuss matters of importance to cities and towns. Diana was a member of the TIP Board through the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission which prioritizes road projects throughout the Valley. And of course, while a Selectmen in a small town she had the pleasure of wearing many other hats and served on various other boards including the Emergency Planning Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Capital Improvement Planning Committee. Diana was also the Selectmen’s representative on the team that negotiated contracts with Hatfield teachers.
Diana has always valued service to her community and has been a tireless volunteer. In 1995, she was co-chair of the Hatfield 325th Anniversary Committee. She currently serves on the Hatfield 350th Anniversary Committee that is planning a yearlong celebration of this important milestone in 2020. Diana also served on the Hatfield Firetruck Committee and the Hatfield Historical Commission. Her volunteer spirit spreads beyond the borders of Hatfield. For seven years Diana was the Treasurer of the Northampton Youth Football League. She also coordinated all merchandise sales for NYFL. She volunteered much time to the Northampton Youth Lacrosse league. And, as a true labor of love, for the last seven seasons she has washed every uniform after every game for the Northampton Varsity Lacrosse team. Her public service knows no bounds.
Diana grew up in Amherst and moved to Hatfield as a young girl. She still resides in Hatfield with her husband James M. Szynal Jr., a Northampton native. James is a Mechanic Foreman at the MassDOT District 2 Headquarters. Diana and Jim are the very proud parents of Peter, Henry and Hadley. Peter, 22, is a graduate of the Northampton High Schools where he played football and lacrosse. He currently attends Holyoke Community College and works at the Hadley Garden Center. Henry, 18, is a senior at the Northampton High School where he plays lacrosse. Henry will attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in the fall. He also works at the Hadley Garden Center and he loves woodworking. Hadley, 13, is a student at Smith Academy. She is a field hockey goalie who also plays basketball and softball. She enjoys crafts and loves to babysit. The Szynals also have two cats, Bill and Ted, and a black lab rescue dog named Emmitt.