SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

October 25, 2013

Benton: What's next for Salem's mayor?

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll’s re-election is a foregone conclusion in the minds of most, but not so are her future political plans.

While there has been much speculation over a potential bid for statewide office by the city’s chief executive, any announcement prior to Nov. 5 would be considered bad form. But the fact is that with a young family, and a city still very much on the rise, Driscoll might well be content to spend another four years in the corner office at City Hall.

However, if she’s thinking of running for higher office, Driscoll must move quickly. Candidates are lining up for all the constitutional offices from governor on down, and Democrats in particular are under pressure to commit to one of them before campaigning begins in earnest early next year.

Perhaps Driscoll should consider running as a Republican. It seems they have plenty of openings.

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker is taking some heat for a recent observation on a radio talk show that taxpayers should share the burden for providing health and other benefits to workers at fast-food restaurants and in other industries that pay at or near the minimum wage.

But the fact is that the minimum wage and other mandates on employers in Massachusetts are already more onerous than in most other states. And any additional requirements imposed on them by the Legislature would likely prompt some to move their businesses elsewhere — leaving those same taxpayers to provide unemployment aid and basic sustenance to the workers they leave behind.

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Talk about your half-hearted endorsements.

Here in the land of legislative kooks and congressional mastodons, a local Tea Party chapter voted 80-0 this week to support the “Draft Dr. Ben Carson for President” movement.

For those unfamiliar with the candidate, Carson is a Michigan native and former neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He is an avowed opponent of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, which he recently described as “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

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