Dianne Douthat began teaching music in the Wayne school districts in the 1990s and soon realized how much she loved the town. “I really loved the way the parents were so involved with the schools and the coaching programs and girl scouts and boy scouts,” she said. “There was a lot of civic engagement and I remember thinking that if I ever get married and have kids, I would want to live here.”
The Democrat Candidate for Ward Two did get married and had kids and moved to Wayne in 2002.
She Received a scholarship from NYU for journalism but changed her major to music education and after graduation taught music in the Hackensack schools before coming to Wayne. Douthat currently teaches at Randall Carter three days a week and APT one day a week.
Her children are 22 and 19 and both went through the Wayne School system from Randal Carter, to George Washington before graduating from Wayne Valley. Her oldest child graduated from Rutgers in May and became a music teacher just like his mom.
Douthat was involved as a Girl Scout leader with her daughter’s troop and was the Treasurer of the Wayne Girl Scout Service Unit. She was also active in the PTO, was a volunteer “art mom” for both of her children’s classes and was a “canteen mom” at George Washington for six years. At the high school level, she was involved in the Wayne Valley bands parents association.
How did she get involved in politics?
Around 2008, during the great recession, Douthat noticed that a lot more kids were getting free or reduced breakfasts and lunches at school. “I started to research what was going on and saw that many middle-class and working-class families took a big hit, and still haven’t completely recovered,” she said. It was then that Douthat started to get involved with the League of Women Voters and other organizations like MoveOn.org and the Working Families Party.
“I wanted to really look at what was happening economically, not only in my community but across the country. I wanted to figure out how to make things better,” said the would-be Ward Two Councilperson.
The first time Douthat ran for office was in 2017 for an at-large council seat but was unable to do much canvassing because she had been diagnosed with lymphoma during the campaign. “Luckily, I was treated and seem to be doing okay,” she said.
Douthat is making up for that this year. The Ward Two Candidate has already knocked on over 1,700 doors and is a regular at the Wayne Farmer’s Market, where she loves to talk with other residents.
Why should people vote for you?
“I know how to listen. I know how to communicate. People need to feel that someone is listening to them; that they are being heard. And, people sometimes need to have information communicated to them, so they understand what’s going on. You can sometimes change people’s view on something when you give them information that they didn’t have and that’s part of the communication that needs to go on.”
“As a trustee, I will work to pass town ordinances, coordinate with our county government to increase shared services and conduct traffic studies, and communicate with our state representatives to locate other funding sources for our vital town and school programs. I will connect with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, to educate the public and address our storm water problems, and revive the Wayne Economic Commission to improve communication and coordination with our business community.”
What is the job of a Wayne Town Councilperson?
- ‘’To listen to and communicate with fellow Ward 2 residents to know what their concerns are in order to work toward addressing these concerns, to keep residents apprised of what’s happening in town, and to work with fellow residents to make our town a better place.”
- “To listen to, communicate with, advocate for, and coordinate efforts with the mayor/other trustees, by passing ordinances or through other means, with the goal of making Wayne a better place.”
- “To work with our board of education, where applicable, with the goal of making Wayne a better place.”
- “To listen to, communicate with, advocate for, and coordinate efforts with representatives at other levels of government, and with other agencies in our state, with the goal of making Wayne a better place.”
- “To continue educating myself about the issues facing our town, and possible solutions, so that I can communicate and share this information with the people of Ward 2, and with other representatives of our town government.”
What is the biggest issue facing Wayne?
“People are not listening to each other; we are a divided town. We need to unite; we need to come together, and I don’t see this town council doing anything to bring us together.”
“We don’t have a town center, where we can come together and go to restaurants and go see a show. They have it in Ridgewood and Montclair, but we don’t have it here.”
“Maybe we come together by creating a summer music fest. Focus on arts; focus on our diverse backgrounds. Something to bring us together, so we feel like a community, like a town.”
What are some other issues facing Wayne?
“The five major concerns of Democrats, Republicans, and Unaffiliated voters in Ward 2 (based on the many doors I’ve canvassed) are protecting and preserving green spaces, stabilizing taxes, making our roads safer, improving our business climate, and fixing our storm water problems.”
“It’s been a really amazing experience, knocking on doors and I know the people I’ve talked to love and care about our town, and though I don’t always see eye-to-eye with everyone, I’m always looking for the common ground. What can we agree on? It’s the five issues. Let’s start there, and let’s bring people together.”