By Jon Keller

BOSTON  (CBS) – What do you want your government to do?

That question is at the core of most of the political campaigns and disputes we cover. Different people have different answers, and often, it feels like our politicians don’t really get it.

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Listen to Jon’s commentary:

They either want government to do too much, or too little, or for the benefit of the wrong people.

But sometimes it feels like the more local the pol, the better chance they get it right.

Mayor Menino, like Mayor Flynn before him, understood what made life good in Boston neighborhoods – a close-knit community with decent services and recreation where you can live and raise your family safely. And whatever other visions or personal ambitions they had, they worked hard to deliver on that basic promise.

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Now, we’ve got a new mayor who thankfully seems like more of the same.

Here’s a key excerpt from his inaugural speech Monday: “We will expand opportunity so it reaches every person in every corner of our city…. We will protect and grow our sense of community… And we will ensure equality for all.”

That’s pretty basic, and while it sounds vague enough to be too expansive, it’s really nothing more than a promise to focus resources on those who need them, make the city safe and help it thrive, and keep the peace.

Marty Walsh told me in an interview a while back that he wouldn’t get caught up in a whole bunch of nanny state stuff, and we’ll see if he’s true to his word.

Perhaps he’ll find his hands are full just keeping the smart, simple promises he’s making.

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You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

Jon Keller