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Lt. Gov. Candidate Driscoll Makes Campaign Swing Through Berkshires
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
06:25PM / Saturday, November 05, 2022
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Kim Driscoll mayor of Salem, was hosted by Mayor Jennifer Macksey.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Lieutenant governor candidate Kim Driscoll was talking about addressing housing issues and public infrastructure as she made a last swing through far Western Mass on Friday.
 
The mayor of Salem stopped in Pittsfield before appearing at a campaign gathering hosted by Mayor Jennifer Macksey at Mingo's. She headed to Greenfield later before returning to Salem.
 
A number of current and former local officials were in attendance, including state Rep. John Barrett III, state Rep. Paul Mark, who is running for state Senate, Adams Selectwoman Christine Hoyt and City Council President Lisa Blackmer. 
 
"We're four days till the election and we're working really hard to try and make sure people know what's at stake," the Democratic candidate said. "And we appreciate all of your consideration in this race and excited about the work ahead and I'm really thankful to have you here."
 
Driscoll and gubernatorial candidate Maura Healey are poised to become the first all-woman ticket to win the state's top executive posts. She was in North Adams in June for a formal endorsement by Macksey. She said housing, cost of living education and public safety are among top issues she's heard from voters.
 
"We're hearing a lot of concerns about housing and just growing unaffordability. People are really plugged into some of the challenges. I think people are a little nervous, frankly, about the future," Driscoll said. "Maura and I are both feeling you know, optimistic about the election, but also recognizing that there probably won't be much of a honeymoon. 
 
"We got a lot of work to do."
 
One of those big challenges is the lack of affordable housing across the state.
 
"What is available is very expensive, and we're finding that people are really struggling because of the high cost of housing," said Driscoll. "So we're hoping to be in a position to appoint a housing secretary that can help us work on innovation, thinking about how we can leverage public land and be in a position to help bring down the cost of housing by growing more housing throughout our communities."
 
Voters have also raised concerns about challenges children and young adults are facing coming out of the pandemic, particularly tied to behavior and anxiety, she said. "And frankly, just costs — it costs more to go to the grocery, it costs more to put a roof over your head, and we're real concerned about rising heat costs."
 
She also said she and Healey were "fully aware" of the city's need for a new public safety building — an issue raised by more than one voter. North Adams isn't the only community in need of public infrastructure, Driscoll said. 
 
"These are things that a number of local leaders brought to our attention and there is some legislation pending to help create sort of a statewide fund like we have for schools, but for public safety and public facility buildings," she said. "We want to make sure we're investing in public safety. You've got to keep neighborhoods safe."
 
Driscoll reaffirmed her support of east-west rail, noting she'd been in Springfield the day after her primary win talking about passenger rail that goes all the way to Pittsfield.
 
It was about more than getting people into Boston, she said, it's critical to also invest in this region as well.
 
"We can make sure that we have more ways to get around, to get people into Boston, but that doesn't mean we don't want to invest in this region. I think it's really critical," she said.
 
As mayor of Salem, Driscoll has a pretty good idea of the potentials and perils of tourism. Upwards of a million people from around the world packed into the 400-year-old town during October. 
 
"It's not just good for Salem in terms of the economics the whole region really benefits, hotels from Gloucester to Cambridge are full because of what's happening in October in our community," she said, joking, "we're happy when it comes and we're happy when it goes."
 
Driscoll envisions partnering with the state's regions to "support the influx of tourism and visitor promotion and marketing."
 
"We know when people come to our region, they stay longer. They tend to spend money that's good for the local economy and jobs. We could be more strategic as we think about marketing Massachusetts," she said. "I know that as the mayor of a community that's now the third most visited destination in Massachusetts. It puts food on the table. It's good local jobs, and we need to be in a position to help support it."
 
Driscoll faces Republican candidate Leah Cole Allen and Libertarian Peter Everett in Tuesday's general election.
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