Ken Lenz, D, Election Profile

Kenneth Lenz, a Democrat, is running as a challenger for the first selectman position. Endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee, the 47-year-old attorney has campaigned hard during this election season.

Interviewed last week at his law practice, Lenz pointed to a map of the town splattered with yellow marker and said “I have been to all those homes talking to town residents and business owners.”{{more}}

Lenz eagerly displays his passion to become first selectman; ready to discuss town issues everywhere he goes. He said his career decisions have led to this point in his life.

“I have had a lifetime of service. Everything I have done has been through a lens of how I can serve people. It’s about public service,” he said.

For instance; he said he left a private law practice to work for the attorney general’s office at “a substantial salary reduction because he needed someone with my expertise to deal with a public problem.” This was during Massachusetts Attorney General Frances X. Bellotti’s tenure.

According to, Bellotti served 1975 to 1987.

Lenz said the time was right to run for the first selectman’s office.

“I want to step up my level of service to people from dealing with a few clients at a time to serving the entire town. I know the town and have lived here a long time. I believe I have the skills to make a meaningful impact for the taxpayers,” Lenz said.

Lenz said if elected he will suspend his law practice while serving as first selectman.

Lenz listed his top three priorities if elected.

“There will be an ongoing attraction of economic development along with working to retain the current businesses,” he said.

He said he plans to move the economic development office to Town Hall and also put together an economic development team so the businesses and town work together to streamline the permit process for a new business.

“By having Paul (Grimmer) in Town Hall there will be immediate access to town hall offices,” he said of the economic development director.

He also plans to have a relationship with CEOs of companies in town who can contact him personally with their concerns.

Creating affordable senior housing is also a priority for Lenz.

“I plan to start working on this to identify sites that are suitable, and then acquire them,” Lenz said, adding he wants the town to own the land.

“I will need the Board of Selectmen to proceed (with this plan) so please support my board of selectmen candidates,” he urges readers.

Lenz said he wants to initially build 50 to 75 affordable senior units. He also envisions the complex to be a mixture of rentals/condominiums and retail with retail on the ground floor and the upper level featuring senior housing.

He also wants to focus on assisting seniors.

“We need to keep them safe in their homes,” he said.

He also wants to move forward with the master plan for developing Fred Wolfe Park.

“It may need to be phased in. I would like to see the 68 acres serve the town as it was originally intended to,” he said.

Asked what he wants voters to know about him and his opponent, Lenz cited his attributes.

“I am an extraordinarily diligent worker. My personal situation now is ideal for rolling up both sleeves and digging into this position. I don’t hold grudges. I’ll work with my opponent or the people who support him. When I get into office I will be working with whomever has been elected to make Orange a better place,” Lenz said.

He also spoke of his ability to draw different sides together.

“I have a lot of experience working with organizations to build team work and consensus. I am generally open minded and willing to be persuaded on my opinion and have been known to change my mind with convincing facts,” he said.

He also said he is an accomplished communicator in listening, speaking and writing. He said he is practical and a results-oriented person. Reaching the goal is his focus, not personalities.

About his opponent.

“I believe my opponent has operated as first selectman with the best interest of the town in his heart. However, he has not been candid with the town in many instances. Such as his statement with regard to tax increases this year. Early on he insinuated there would not be an increase, then he minimized the impact of the increase when he knew three-quarters of homeowners would see an increase. Mr. Zeoli’s eight years in office have in my view shown marginal results. The town needs to progress not stay status quo,” Lenz said.

Lenz outlined what his first 100 days in office would be like.

“I hope to have fully evaluated and met with department managers and sub managers. I plan to meet all town hall employees. Have intensive conversations with all board of selectmen (members) to see what they have in mind for the next two years. This isn’t all about my ideas but forming an administration that will be highly effective,” he said.