‘Old habits die hard’: Montague’s eldest Selectboard candidate looks to continue town service


Staff Writer
Published: 9/17/2021 4:40:47 PM

Editor’s Note: This is the last in four profiles of the candidates running for election to the Montague Selectboard. The election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 21. Polls will be open from noon to 7 p.m. at the Franklin County Technical School, the Gill-Montague Senior Center and the Montague Center Fire Station.

MONTAGUE — After four decades of building a connection to Montague, Selectboard candidate David Jensen looks to bring his extensive business and town experience to the table.

Raised in a “rich suburb” of Dover as part of “a modest-income family,” Jensen, 70, lived in Royalston and Amherst before buying the site of a burned-down house in Lake Pleasant. In 1981, he built a new house on the property and started a business, Avenue A Laundromat, in Turners Falls. There, he said, he formed a rapport with the town administrator that resulted in Jensen going down a lengthy path of work with the town.

Jensen recalled that Montague was “really in bad shape” in the early days of his residency. He observed that, nowadays, wealth disparities prevail.

“Montague is pretty diverse,” Jensen said. “We say we’ve got five villages, but we’ve got a socioeconomic spectrum ... with different points of view.”

After starting his own business, Jensen would go on to serve on “probably a dozen committees.” These included building committees, school committees and time as a building inspector from 1988 to 2018. Most recently, Jensen served as vice chair of the building committee overseeing the creation of the new Department of Public Works garage at the corner of Turnpike and Turners Falls roads.

Jensen said his willingness to undertake so many town responsibilities stems from a sense of fulfillment.

“To be honest, I found my role to be usually worthwhile,” Jensen said.

Jensen said running for the Selectboard in hopes of filling a seat left vacant by the resignation of Michael Nelson is a new chapter that he’s had on his mind for a while. He noted those close to him had been pushing him to run.

“I’ve given it some thought over the years,” Jensen said. “When Mike Nelson resigned, I was like, ‘Huh, is this an opportunity or is this just a timely opening?’”

Aside from his extensive experience working in the town, Jensen has an interest in government that he feels would serve him well on the Selectboard. He added that although he hasn’t served on a Selectboard before, he’s found that taking on new responsibilities can result in success if you’re willing to learn.

“If you can get a handle on it, you can actually feel effective,” Jensen said.

Like other candidates, Jensen said he wouldn’t be looking to make drastic changes to the status quo on the Selectboard.

“Montague town government is run pretty well,” he said. “I think my main contribution would be details around the edges. ... Montague’s been pretty steady over the years, I’ll give it that.”

Jensen said there’s no particular issue that he wants to champion.

“I’m not seeing myself as a motivator of any particular controversy,” he said.

Jensen acknowledged the nature of a Selectboard member’s role as something that isn’t always exciting.

“It’s a lot of day-to-day minor stuff,” he said.

At the end of the day, Jensen said his campaign for a Selectboard seat is simply an extension of how he’s chosen to live a life of town service.

“Old habits die hard,” he said. “I’m willing to do it.”

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or

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