SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 25, 2013

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

Nelson Benton
The Salem News

---- — 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.”

Tea Party advocates say the fact that Carson is black proves there is no racial element whatsoever to their opposition to the current occupant of the White House or his health policies.

However, the local Tea Partiers’ endorsement comes with a caveat. The resolution declares: “We, the Surprise Tea Party hereby announce our support for the Draft Dr. Ben Carson for President movement and declare our clear willingness to vote for him should we decide that he is the best candidate in the field at the time of the primary elections.”

In other words, we’ll support him until we find another Obama-hater we like better.

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The shocking news out of Danvers this week provides even more evidence of how violence-prone our culture is becoming.

The fact that the latest edition of “Grand Theft Auto,” a video game full of violence and sexually-charged scenarios, netted $800 million in sales on its first day, ought to be a matter of concern. Censorship is not the answer, but greater parental scrutiny of what teens are buying and playing these days is essential.

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Datebook: State Treasurer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Grossman will be the guest speaker at Temple B’nai Abraham’s annual political breakfast this Sunday (Oct. 27). A former chairman of both the state and national Democratic committees, Grossman would become the state’s first Jewish governor if elected in 2014. The temple is located at 200 East Lothrop St. in Beverly; tickets are $18; and the event begins at 10 a.m.