In a competitive field of Democratic challengers for Massachusetts lieutenant governor, longtime Salem mayor Kim Driscoll pointed to her extensive experience in municipal government as what sets her apart from the rest.
When she recently joined me on air, she explained how that experience had given her a hands-on perspective on the issues that affect Commonwealth residents the most.
“There is no doubt that mayors like me have been on the ground facing our most pressing battles: COVID response and recovery, racial equity, the climate crisis, strengthening our schools and making housing more affordable,” Driscoll said. . “And I’m really excited to be your next Lieutenant Governor, because I don’t think we can be a strong, healthy Commonwealth without thriving, thriving towns and cities. It really is a symbiotic relationship. , and one that I know and understand.”
Driscoll said municipalities are the “get things done” wing of governance, and she has served local governments in many capacities. In college, Driscoll worked in the planning department at Salem, a position she considers her inspiration for starting a career in public service. Driscoll then became Beverly’s Community Development Director, during which time she earned her law degree from the Massachusetts School of Law.
After some time in private practice, Mayor Driscoll served as chief legal adviser and deputy city manager at Chelsea, helping to lead the city out of receivership.
In her hometown of Salem, Driscoll was elected to city council in 1999 and became the first woman to be elected mayor of Salem in 2005, a position she has held ever since.
Driscoll said that because of this experience, she will bring an understanding of the challenges facing areas like the South Coast, which are anchored by gateway cities similar to those she has served.
“These in particular, I think, can often be real engines of economic prosperity,” Driscoll said of the South Coast towns of New Bedford and Fall River. “We know that in hub cities we get over a quarter of public secondary school graduates. We need to have thriving hub cities for the Commonwealth to be successful. I think I’ve been able to provide forward-thinking urban leadership at the local level.”
“I think the lieutenant governor has generally been a liaison with local towns and villages, if you think about this administration and the last,” she said. “I see a real opportunity to amplify this work. To not just be a liaison, but to be a strategic ally. To be a unifier.”
Although the focus of his platform has been his civic experience, boasting endorsements from more than 120 elected municipal officials across the Commonwealth, Mayor Driscoll recently won the key endorsement of one of Beacon Hill’s top legislators. : Massachusetts House Speaker Ron Marino.
“I’m really grateful to have President Mariano’s support,” Driscoll said. “I think I would just sum up with questions of experience. I think cities are really a microcosm of the challenges our state faces. Especially cities like Salem, we’re a gateway city. We know a lot of the work that has to do to solve problems like housing, climate change and transport can only take place if there is action at the local level.That is how we are going to solve these problems or mitigate these impacts.
Mayor Driscoll also discussed the progress she’s seen Salem make during his time as mayor, his endorsement of current incumbent Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and what she likes about the two gubernatorial candidates in the Democratic primary. You can listen to the full interview at 24:15 here: