Kim Driscoll Brings Local Perspective to Lieutenant Governor Race
In a competitive field of Democratic challengers for Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor, long-tenured Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll has emphasized her extensive experience in municipal government as what sets her apart from the others.
When she joined me on-air recently, she talked about how this experience has given her a ground-level perspective on the issues most impacting Commonwealth residents.
"There's no doubt that mayors like me have been on the ground in front of our most urgent fights: COVID response and recovery, race equity, the climate crisis, strengthening our schools, and making housing more affordable," Driscoll said. "And I really am enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve as your next Lieutenant Governor because I don't think that we can be a strong and healthy Commonwealth without thriving and successful cities and towns. It is very much a symbiotic relationship, and one that I know and understand."
Driscoll said that municipalities are the "get stuff done" wing of governance, and she has served local governments in several capacities. In college, Driscoll worked in Salem's planning Department, a position that she credits as her inspiration to begin a career in public service. Driscoll then went on to become 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 Counsel and Deputy City Manager in Chelsea, helping usher the city out of receivership.
In her hometown of Salem, Driscoll was elected to the 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 regions like the SouthCoast, which are anchored by gateway cities similar to the ones she has served.
"Those in particular I think can oftentimes can be real drivers of economic prosperity," Driscoll said of SouthCoast cities New Bedford and Fall River. "We know in gateway cities we are graduating over one-quarter of the folks who graduate from public high schools. We need to have thriving gateway cities for the Commonwealth to do well. I think I have been able provide forward-thinking city leadership at the local level."
"I think the Lieutenant Governor has typically been a liaison to local cities and towns, if you think about this administration and the last one," she said. "I see a real opportunity to amplify that work. To not just be a liaison, but to be a strategic ally. To be a convener."
Though the focus of her platform has been her municipal experience, touting endorsements of over 120 municipal elected officials across the Commonwealth, Mayor Driscoll recently secured a key endorsement from one of Beacon Hill's top lawmakers: Massachusetts House Speaker Ron Marino.
"I'm really grateful to have Speaker Mariano's support," Driscoll said. "I think I'd just sum it up with experience matters. I think cities are really a microcosm of the challenges that our state has. Especially cities like Salem, we're a gateway city. We know a lot of the work that has to get done to address things like housing, and climate change, and transportation can't happen unless there's action at the local level. That's how we're gonna solve those issues or mitigate those impacts."
Mayor Driscoll also discussed the progress she has seen Salem make during her time as mayor, her approval of the current outgoing 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 the 24:15 mark here: