As hugged his family, friends and many supporters Tuesday night at the Democratic campaign headquarters on Broad Street after election results declared him the town’s new mayor, there was one person he wished could have been there to share the special moment with him.
His father , who passed away earlier this year but in many ways served as an inspiration to Leo, from motivating him to get his law degree to instilling in him at a young age a passion for and a desire to give back to the Manchester community.
The only problem was that Vincent Leo Diana Sr. was heavily involved in the town’s Republican Party, while Leo Vincent Diana leans Democrat all the way.
Still, Leo said, the difference in parties was never an issue between the two, and Vincent Leo Diana Sr. was even on hand at Democratic headquarters two years ago to congratulate his son when he ran for the Board of Directors for the first time and captured enough votes to become Deputy Mayor. Diana said he wished his father could have been there Tuesday night as well.
“We disagreed on politics, but we didn’t fight over it,” Diana said. “We would kid around because we had different politics views, but he was my biggest supporter.”
Diana received 4,295 votes in Tuesday’s election, more than 300 more than any other Board of Directors candidate, easily making him the town’s next mayor. He will replace , who chose not to seek re-election this year because he wanted to spend more time with his family.
When asked, Diana said that he considered it an “honor and a privilege” to serve as Manchester’s next mayor and attributed at least some of his enduring popularity amongst voters in town to his roots in the community.
“I think I have the benefit of having a strong family name that’s been in the community for three generations,” he said.
Diana has been practicing law in Manchester for 23 years, the last 10 as the Diana in the long-time Main Street law firm of Diana, Conti & Tunila, which he took over from his father. He has been married to his wife Thu Tam Diana for 22 years and the couple has raised four children in Manchester.
Diana said he intends to continue the same spirit of bi-partisanship and camaraderie amongst the Board of Directors that characterized Spadaccini’s tenure as mayor.
Elected candidates will be sworn in on Monday, Nov. 21.