The Female Mayor Who Doesn't Want to Talk About Being a Woman

At least she didn't used to. Now, she says, times have changed.
by | June 21, 2018
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll
Salem, Mass., Mayor Kim Driscoll (AP/Elise Amendola)

When Kim Driscoll ran for mayor of her Massachusetts town back in 2006, she avoided talking about her experience as a woman and any sort of identity politics.

“Salem had never had a woman mayor, and there was a lot of dialogue in the community about whether Salem was ready for a woman mayor.  So we avoided it all costs, and made it a résumé race. I think that’s really changed, thankfully, as more women have run, you can envision it for yourself,” she says.

The town just north of Boston is best known for the Salem witch trials. It's a legacy that's the basis of its booming tourist economy -- Salem sees more than a half a million visitors in the month of October alone.

On the latest episode of "The 23%: Conversations With Women in Government," Driscoll talks about the challenges of running a city that relies so heavy on tourism and how she has transcended that and also transformed it into an artist’s hub in New England.

“We felt like there were lots of stories to tell about Salem that went beyond the witch trials, so today we like to say we’re hip and historical."

Listen to her full interview below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Podcasts or Stitcher, and check out our archives.