Scott W. Lang served as the 37th Mayor of the City of New Bedford from his inauguration on January2, 2006 until January 2, 2012. After serving three terms in office, Mayor Lang did not seek a fourth term. On January 3, 2012 he returned to his New Bedford law office, Lang, Xifaras & Bullard which is entering its 30th year.
Born in Oceanside, New York on October 25, 1950, Mayor Lang worked as a paperboy while in grammar school and as a boatyard laborer and fence laborer as a high school student. He then worked his way through college delivering beer for Rheingold Breweries in Brooklyn, New York, as a warehouse man and clerk at Railroad Salvage in Milwaukee, and as a bricklayer’s tender in the summer of 1971. All three of these jobs were union jobs.
Scott Lang graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1972 with a degree in History and Political Science. He attended Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. while working for the Democratic National Committee. He graduated from Georgetown in 1976 was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1977.
Having family and friends in the area, he moved to New Bedford in 1978 and began practicing law, working for Attorney John M. Xifaras. District Attorney John A. Tierney appointed Mayor Lang a special assistant district attorney in October of 1978. He went served as a Prosecuting Attorney in the Third District Court for District Attorney Ronald A. Pina and was later assigned to the Superior Court as a prosecutor where he served until 1990. In 1983 he founded the law firm of Lang, Straus, Xifaras & Bullard in New Bedford.
Early in his legal career, he worked in the sports and entertainment law field, representing athletes and broadcasters. Mayor Lang has extensive experience in labor law and has represented both private and public sector labor unions. In addition, he has represented employers and business entities on statutory issues. He also has extensive experience in the areas of personal injury, catastrophic personal injury and workers’ compensation, as well as state and federal labor and employment law and Civil Rights cases.
From 1991 to 2005, he was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth He has taught numerous courses on Employment Law, Labor Relations Law, the Presidential Nominating Process, the United States Government, Massachusetts Politics, and introductory political science courses. From 1999 to 2005, he served as an arbitrator and mediator for Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc.
During the course of his career, he has sponsored numerous youth baseball teams as well as sports and academic programs throughout the city.
With a strong history of civic engagement and public service, Scott Lang saw an opportunity to become even more involved in his community by entering the race for Mayor of the City of New Bedford in 2005. Upon his election, Mayor Lang wasted no time in rallying the community and addressing the quality-of-life issues most important to city residents. In his first term, he led a full-scale, comprehensive effort to reduce crime, including re-opening police district stations and strengthening the police presence community wide; initiated an aggressive program to address abandoned and tax delinquent properties; created jobs by supporting small businesses; resolved collective bargaining agreements with city employee unions; reduced a projected FY ’06 budget deficit; initiated city financial management system improvements; and sparked a statewide discussion about the need to modify the State’s MCAS graduation requirement.
In 2007, Mayor Lang was re-elected for a second term by 87% of voters and his priorities continue to include enhancing public safety, competing to create more and better jobs, managing city government efficiently, preparing New Bedford children to meet the challenges of their future, developing strong, vibrant neighborhoods and strengthening community spirit. For his distinguished leadership regarding education issues, Mayor Lang received awards in 2007 from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and the Citizens for Public Schools. For his innovative leadership on a myriad of issues impacting the New Bedford community, NBC 10 and The Standard-Times named him the “2006 SouthCoast Man of the Year”. In 2008, Mayor Lang was nominated to serve on the Massachusetts Local Government Advisory Council; a group of officials who advise the Governor on key issues facing cities and towns. Mayor Lang has also initiated and raised the funds to support an annual summer youth program for New Bedford teenagers, structured on community service, classroom learning and professional development and enrichment activities.
In the Fall of 2009, he was elected for a third term receiving 78% of the vote. Prior to running for a third term, he had announced that he would not seek a fourth term in office. In 2011, he served as the President of the Massachusetts Mayor’s Association. In the spring of 2011, Mayor Lang was appointed a member of Governor Patrick’s Economic Development Policy and Planning Council.
Mayor Lang certified over $20 million dollars in “free cash” during his three terms, finishing with a budget surplus 6 consecutive fiscal years. He also guided the City to its first Moody’s bond rating upgrade in 5 decades. Despite the worst recession in our Country’s history, the City of New Bedford saw dramatic growth during Mayor Lang’s terms in office.
Mayor Lang received numerous awards while serving in office. The following is a partial listing:
- New Bedford School Committee, Chairman 2006-2011 (gavel presentation)
- Peter Kirwin Distinguished Service Award, Local Officials Human Services Council, Massachusetts Municipal Association, December 7, 2011
- Friend of the Fishing Industry, Port of New Bedford, September 25, 2011
- Downtown New Bedford Person of the Year 2011
- Mayor’s Climate Protection Award, Honorable Mention, Small City, 2011
- Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board, Inc. – High Performing Workforce Board, June 2011
- Marine Corps League, Certificate of Appreciation, May 30, 2011
- Task Force for Foster Care Support, May 25, 2011
- Department of the Army, Commander’s Award for Public Service, January 2007-April 2011
- National Trust for Historic Preservation, New Bedford named one of 2011’s dozen distinctive destinations in the United States
- New Bedford named the 7th Creative City in the United States, 2011
- USA Today, New Bedford named one of the most Authentic Cities in the United States, 2011
- Leadership of 1st Battalion 181st Infantry Regiment: to Scott W. Lang in appreciation of your support, 2011
- WalMart Conference of U.S. Mayors, First Place Work Force Grant Award, 2010
- MASS PIRG 2009 Climate Champion Award
- Sydney Adams Award, Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford, 2009
- Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 499, New Bedford, 2007
- NBHTC-Outstanding Restoration Partner, 2007
- Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Inc. – “In recognition of your support for children and public education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” November 10, 2006
- Activist for Public Schools Award, Citizens for Public Schools, September 27, 2006
- Hispanic Recognition Award, Certificate of Appreciation, September 14, 2006
- National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution – Certificate of Appreciation, April 17, 2006
- Weekly Compass – First Annual Distinguished Community Service Award 2006
- NBC 10 and The Standard-Times “2006 SouthCoast Man of the Year”
He has written numerous articles and Op Ed pieces on urban affairs including those focusing on education, economic development, public safety and alternative energy and environment.
On January 3, 2012, Mr. Lang returned to his law practice.
Mayor Lang has been married to Marguerite “Gig” Lang since 1973; they have 3 children, Nate, Andy and Sarah.