Kim Driscoll Stops by Holy Cross on Campaign Trail, Speaks on Big Ticket Issues

Michael O’Brien ‘23


With the midterm elections less than two weeks away, politicians around the country are gearing up for one final push to have their messages heard and convince voters that they are the right candidate for the job. For many lawmakers, engaging with young voters is an important part of campaigning; not just for pitching their own cause, but to encourage voting itself. To boost this kind of engagement with young voters, Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Candidate Kim Driscoll visited campus on Oct. 26 to meet with students and present some general information about the Healy-Driscoll campaign.

Driscoll has served as the Mayor of Salem since 2006, making history as the first female mayor of the city. During her time in office, Driscoll oversaw numerous projects which helped the livelihood of the city, including “[Turning] deficits into record reserve funds and [saving] taxpayers’ money by enhancing city efficiencies, broadening the use of 21st Century technology, reforming pensions and public health insurance programs, bidding public contracts, and revitalizing Salem’s downtown.” 

Driscoll began her address to the crowd in Smith Hall by noting how her desire to run for office was fostered in a State and Local Politics course that she took at Salem State in conjunction with interning at the Salem City Planning Office. She was encouraged to see how many students at Holy Cross came to learn about her experiences in the political realm. 

Driscoll believes that, if elected, the experience she has had as a mayor will be a valuable resource to meet the demands that are required of a Lieutenant Governor. She stated “I’m excited to take this experience as mayor to work as your next Lieutenant Governor because I really believe that you can’t have strong and thriving cities without a strong state partner. On the flipside, we can’t have a state without towns and cities that are running on all cylinders and are run really well.” 

This vital relationship between state and local governments is something that Driscoll understands well and she doesn’t take it for granted. She also acknowledges the challenges that face the state ahead of the election. Noting her deep understanding of the struggles many communities in Massachusetts and beyond are going through, Driscoll noted “From the lens of municipal government, I think it’s pretty much a microcosm of some of the challenges we face as a state. If you think about the things that we’re concerned about and what we’re hearing in lots of places, from Springfield to New Bedford to Lawrence to Worcester, it’s things like the high costs of housing, the inability to afford to live in Massachusetts, which is a growing gap. 

You might be the first generation that doesn’t do as well as their parents. That’s a statement of America. Usually the next generation does better; whether it’s education outcomes, economic opportunities, we’re a little stymied right now. So, how do we think about a place that has so much economic prosperity and brain power, how do we leverage that prince and pauper setting where some communities are doing really well, and others, not so much?”

This sort of dichotomy between flourishing and struggling communities is certainly something that will be on the forefront of voters minds’ soon, and I wanted to ask Driscoll more about the specific policies she hopes to implement if elected to office.

One solution that the Healy-Driscoll ticket is pushing to help ease the high costs of living is a proposed Child Tax Credit; its mission is described as “ …[a] fully-refundable tax credit would help address the economic crisis stemming from our under-invested child care system, and families who don’t use professional child care would also see an added impact.” I asked Driscoll if she could speak more on this plan in layman’s terms to help voters truly understand what they seek to accomplish, to which she responded “I think folks saw during COVID there was a federal child tax credit, that essentially returned, on a monthly basis, dollars to working families based on the number of children they had, number of dependents they had, that you could then recycle for everything you need from housing to food to groceries and utility bills, things like that.

We’re hoping to return a form of that as part of a state program along with targeted tax relief. Governor Baker has actually proposed some targeted tax relief we think has real value. That’s key to addressing some of the growing unaffordability we see. We’re looking to get more money in people’s pockets, and the child tax credit is one targeted way to do that we think could be really beneficial.”

Another hugely important issue this midterm election season is the topic of climate change and how state officials will go about promoting responsible legislation in terms of protecting the environment. As Mayor of Salem, Mayor Driscoll committed to seeing that climate change was accounted for, and launched a number of climate related initiatives to help the city become more green.

One of the plans of the Healy-Driscoll campaign is to have the state of Massachusetts become completely carbon neutral by 2030. This is an ambitious project, so I wanted to know how feasible Mayor Driscoll thinks this is, and why it matters so much for the state to reduce its carbon footprint. Driscoll answered “Certainly we want to make sure Massachusetts is doing our part to reduce emissions and to create a climate future that’s more resilient. We don’t have an option; and the reality is we haven’t been acting as deep enough and as quickly as we need to to attack it. 

The legislation that exists in the commonwealth right now says we’re going to cut emissions in half by 2030 and in 2050 by 100%, and that means all of us need to get in that game, thinking about how we can have power that’s going to be cleaner. We’re proud to create those Clean Energy Corridors, Salem’s going to be a hub for offshore wind. There is also going to be a supply chain in connection with a clean energy future from E-vehicles to solar and certainly to offshore wind that we think more communities, not just port communities, can benefit from as well. 

But it’s not only good for our cities and our Commonwealth, it’s good for our planet. So we’re hoping to accelerate the work that we’re doing to reduce emissions, that’s everything from electrifying our transportation options and working on ways to build a more resilient future. We need to ask what adaptive measures can really help make sure that the Commonwealth, as we’re growing, the old historic state that we are, that we’re being mindful of our impacts on the climate crisis.”

Ms. Driscoll’s talk and interview helped to shape the image of a candidate who will serve her community to the best of her ability if sworn into office come January. No matter who you’re voting for, make sure to get out there on Nov. 8 and have your voices heard!

Image courtesy of Vectorstock

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