Diana Szynal, Kocot’s district director, to run for his seat

  • Diana M. Szynal SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Monday, March 05, 2018

HATFIELD — Diana M. Szynal, district director for the late state Rep. Peter V. Kocot, will run for his 1st Hampshire District seat.

Szynal, 51, of Hatfield, said Sunday that she intends to get nomination forms Monday so she can seek the position and continue Kocot’s legacy, promoting funding for education, affordable housing, economic development, environmental and agricultural protections and infrastructure improvements.

“I know the district like the back of my hand, and I know the people and the communities, and I have a sound understanding of what is important to the good people of Northampton, Hatfield, Southampton, Westhampton and Montgomery,” Szynal said.

Szynal, a Democrat, has been Kocot’s district director since he was elected in 2002. Since his death last month, Szynal said, she has continued her constituent work, making sure that the needs of the five communities are met. She said she has been supported in that effort by local legislators, including their help in pushing Kocot’s budget priorities through the Legislature.

She said she intends to carry on Kocot’s work and use her knowledge from the two terms she served on the Hatfield Select Board.

“My strengths have always been constituent services and my grasp of municipal issues and procedures,” Szynal said.

Szynal credits Kocot, whom she described as compassionate, responsive and forward thinking, with inspiring her to run.

“There is no better mentor than Peter Kocot, and I had a front row seat to watching him serve the district he loved so deeply,” Szynal said.

Szynal would be the first woman elected to represent the district. “I’ve already gotten a lot of support, which is really wonderful,” she said.

Szynal, who has lived in Hatfield since she was 13, is married to Northampton native James Szynal, Jr. They have three children: Peter, 22; Henry, 18; and Hadley, 13.