BOSTON (CBS) — Kim Driscoll, the mayor of Salem since 2006, joined Jon Keller on Sunday morning to discuss where her city thrives and where there is room for improvement.
“You’re not someone that’s far away so you’re always on duty and hopefully we’re doing a good job and people like the direction the city is heading in,” said Driscoll, who has been popular among the constituents.
“[Voters] want to know that people are listening, people care about the issues that you care about. Hopefully, you’re creating a vision and are hopeful in terms of the direction your community is going in, your state, your nation. Those are the things that I’m looking for in a candidate,” she added.
As an older city, Driscoll said she is worried about Salem’s aging infrastructure and wants to improve the public education.
According to Keller, those two objectives would have benefitted from the millionaire’s tax but the courts recently shot the tax down. Driscoll said, “We know that resources do matter, particularly when you think about infrastructure, transportation, and public education…it does take money. I don’t think it’s impossible without the millionaire’s tax, I think we do have a committed state working to try and resolve those issues. But more money would have certainly put a big, big push forward with both education and transportation.”
Driscoll noted that the legislature has been reluctant to do anything to do with taxes, and resources are necessary to fix some of these problems. “It is difficult to go from Salem, only 14 miles north of Boston, into Boston for work. We want to have a public transit that works. We want people to be able to rely on that and I think we’re going to need resources to do it.”
Salem also has tourism as a source of revenue. “We invest 50 percent of our visitor taxes, mostly lodging, hotel taxes back into marketing and promoting Salem,” Driscoll said. “What we’ve seen is actually a 75 percent growth in hotel rooms, more commitment to businesses that are really, not only residents are patronizing, but visitors coming to visit Salem. If anything, I think we’re investing the visitor dollars into the visitor economy and we’re seeing that growing.”
Keller also asked why Driscoll has not run for a state-wide office, to which Driscoll responded: “When you think about the level of services you’re relying on as a citizen: educating your kids, keeping your neighborhood safe, really investing in those places that you make great memories, maybe it’s a beach or a park, they are all delivered at the local level. And that’s really important to me.”
“I hope people think I’m in it for the long hall,” she added. “For me, it’s about loving the place that I live.”
Driscoll said she is not sure if she will be working for the Democratic nominee’s run for governor in the fall. While she respects the candidates, she also complimented Gov. Charlie Baker’s relationship with those in the state. “The colleagues that I speak with recognize that we’ve got somebody (Baker) who’s really working with us…that’s not to say that there isn’t a strong Democratic contender.”
One thing Driscoll would like to legislative leaders for? “I think what we would love at the local level is a sense of urgency on issues… a little quicker pace would be really helpful for those of us on the front lines.”