Bill Diamond Q&A: From classroom to political leadership

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State Sen. Bill Diamond, 70, Windham, Public service

Bill Diamond has been a career politician since he was first elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1976. Now at 70, he’s showing no sign of slowing down.

Diamond currently represents Senate District 26, which includes Baldwin, Casco, Frye Island, Raymond, Standish and Windham, serving on the Transportation and Government Oversight committees. A Windham resident, Diamond has a long political history.

He served in the House until 1982, when he was elected to the state Senate. In 1989, he became Maine’s secretary of state, and was re-elected in 1993. He again joined the Senate from 2004-2012 in the 12th district.

His run ended due to term limits, but Diamond was elected to the Senate again in 2014, this time in the 26th District.

Diamond, also a former teacher, taught in Windham schools from 1968 to 1986. In 1986, he was school superintendent of Raymond schools.

MyGeneration spoke with Diamond recently about his career, overcoming fear of attention and what’s next.

Q: You’re at the top of your game professionally. Is this the path you planned?

A: As a young man in college, my original career goal was simple – become a schoolteacher. However, after attaining that goal and then teaching for a few years I found myself being pulled in a totally different direction, and with each new turn on my career path I was presented with challenges too tempting to ignore. Being elected as a state representative and then state senator and later becoming Maine secretary of state was an honor I could never have anticipated when I began my career. Teaching had provided an opportunity to experience the rewards of working with young people helping them to learn and grow. I soon discovered the importance of transitioning my role so I could be in a position of helping even more people by using the influence of elected office and becoming involved in community volunteerism.

Q: What has changed the most in your career and how have you adjusted?

A: When I was in high school, I was so bashful that I avoided attention at all costs. For example, if a girl at school even looked at me I would blush uncontrollably. The same would happen if a teacher called on me in class so I skillfully avoided public attention and especially any situation that required public speaking. Therefore, the biggest change in me was learning the importance of having self-confidence and working to overcome my own insecurities that had restricted my personal development in a variety of ways. Slowly gaining confidence led to accepting career risks such as becoming a teacher and principal and then becoming a small business owner. What changed the most in my career? Me. I finally realized the old saying was true, “if you don’t have self-confidence the decision will be unanimous.”

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?

A: In five years I hope to be making more contributions to my community through public service and by helping others realize the importance of becoming volunteers. I’ve learned that when all is said and done, being able to help others is the most rewarding feeling that one can experience.

“Being able to help others is the most rewarding feeling that one can experience,” says Bill Diamond.

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