Bravo to Lesser and Driscoll!

The Gateway Cities Journal

Bravo to Lesser and Driscoll!

For the Gateway Cities movement, the race for Lt. Governor was by far the most notable among Tuesday’s primaries. While many believe the position has little import, the LG’s office has established itself as a meaningful envoy to Gateway Cities across the state in recent years. Both Lt. Gov. Murray and Lt. Gov. Polito spent countless days visiting our regional cities. In their own way, each of them built strong working relationships with Gateway City leaders, ensuring that their administrations worked in partnership, helping these vital communities overcome challenges and achieve more prosperity.

This year’s Democratic primary for LG was even more notable because two of our most devoted and accomplished Gateway City leaders faced off for the seat.

As our regular readers will know, Sen. Lesser chairs the Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus. He’s provided exceptional leadership on a range of issues, from equitable entrepreneurship and neighborhood stabilization to Early College and regional transportation. For the past two sessions, he has also chaired the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. From this high perch, Sen. Lesser has worked tirelessly to help his peers in the legislature understand both the unique needs of Gateway Cities and how state investment in these communities reverberates throughout our regional economies, paving the way for more geographically balanced growth.

It is hard to overstate Sen. Lesser’s contribution to our work. At every turn, the Senator and his staff have been there for us. Helping to sort out arcane legislative issues, providing sage advice on Beacon Hill strategy, and showing up on short notice to offer remarks at events. While we will sorely miss having him in the Senate, we feel certain that he will continue to provide leadership for Springfield and Gateway Cities around the state as he moves on to new endeavors. (And his work is not quite done! He has helped assemble an exceptional economic development package—including MassINC’s full funding recommendation for the Housing Development Incentive Program—and continues to lead the conference committee to get it passed this fall.)

Regular readers will also know that the victor in Tuesday’s primary, Mayor Kim Driscoll, is an equally ardent advocate for Gateway Cities. In 2013, she co-led the development of our Gateway Cities education vision, alongside Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong. She is no stranger to the State House, appearing regularly before legislators to advocate for education funding, Housing Choice and other zoning reforms, Regional Ballot Initiatives to fund transportation, and a slew of other issues important to Gateway Cities. She appreciates the municipal mechanics of state investment tools like HDIP, and rallies her peers in the Metro Mayors Coalition and Gateway Cities network to help make our small cities more livable and prosperous. She will bring a planner’s expertise and local leader’s savvy to her new statewide perch.

When two exceptional leaders vie for the same seat, disappointment is inevitable, but we should all be grateful.

By putting themselves out there in a competitive race, Sen. Lesser and Mayor Driscoll gave voters a choice. It is another testament to the way they approach public service. Modeling strong, no-nonsense Gateway City leadership, they ran clean issues-oriented campaigns, bringing benefit to their communities and enriching our democracy. Bravo!


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