Driscoll’s road to the State House went through Lynn, Nahant, Saugus, and Salem (2024)

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll said that long before she took elected office in the Commonwealth, her introduction to Massachusetts was on the North Shore.

“My grandparents are from Lynn, my dad grew up in Lynn and so while I never lived in the state because my dad was in the Navy and I was born in Hawaii, we traveled all around with his deployments until I came to college,” she said.

She then attended college at Salem State University, then known as Salem State College, before serving as the mayor of Salem from 2006 to 2023.

Driscoll said she spent a lot of time in the area growing up. She remembers learning about the history of steel at the Saugus Iron Works, going to Nahant Beach, and watching taffy being made at the Salem Willows — some of her earliest memories in Massachusetts.

“That’s why it’s extra special to be able to live here and raise my family in this place that was always a favorite location to visit family growing up,” Driscoll said.

Driscoll said she can vividly recall her grandfather, who worked at Lynn’s GE plant later in his career.

“We were heading somewhere and there was a guy hitchhiking and he said, ‘Oh, stop, we’re gonna pick him up.’ I said, ‘Pick him up?’ He said, ‘Yeah, pick him up. He’s a West Lynner. He’s okay,’” she said.

“I have a lot of fond memories of not only spending time here, but recognizing the pride that people had in their hometown and the beauty, just the natural beauty we have living in a coastal community with so much history. It’s pretty special,” Driscoll added.

Because Driscoll traveled so much as a child due to her father’s deployments, she did not have a place she could call her home town until she became an adult.

“That’s a special feeling, to realize your home town as an adult, and now this is my kid’s home town… they have had all the blessings and good fortune of living in this region,” she said.

Driscoll said that people who live in towns and cities in the area have a lot of unity.

“We might sleep in one place, that’s our home community, but we crisscross across cities and towns all the time. You might live in Salem and work in Lynn, or live in Beverly and go out to eat in Salem or enjoy a beach in Nahant. It does feel, to me, there’s a lot of collegiality, a lot of shared interest within the region,” she said.

Driscoll said she sees this phenomenon during events that she attends or hosts in the area.

“I know when we would host events in Salem, it’s a draw for the entire North Shore,” she said. “People equate their place they live not just with the place they lay their head on the pillow, but with all of the things they get to enjoy in the region. I think that is a little unique, and I know we have benefited from it.”

Driscoll said that although the area is special to her because of her childhood memories, she now also appreciates its history and architecture.

“When you make a lot of memories in one place, it becomes the space that you really enjoy spending a lot of time in and when I think of Salem, and what we’re able to do here, walking around downtown on streets that the first millionaire in America walked on, Elias Hasket Derby, they still exist,” Driscoll said. “A lot of the same geography, architecture, and streetscapes are just as they were several hundred years ago.”

“It brings a certain authenticity that you don’t see in other places,” she added.

Driscoll said her love for local government was fostered at Salem State. She said she got an internship in Salem’s planning department.

“It was a real eye-opening experience knowing how special Salem is, and frankly, the region has so many assets here,” she said. “I always felt like we punched out of our weight class in the history, architecture, the institutions that are here, from world-class museums to the national-park service sites that are in Salem and Saugus.”

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Driscoll’s road to the State House went through Lynn, Nahant, Saugus, and Salem (2024)
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