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CHANGES AT HELM

Inaugurals feature bit of history, fresh starts

Salem yesterday inaugurated its first female mayor. Cambridge lawmakers voted in the state's only openly gay and black mayor. And Chicopee replaced a mayor who was under federal investigation.

Around the state, several new mayors took their oaths, bathed in the applause, then rolled up their sleeves to begin the work of leading a municipality.

In Salem, Kim Driscoll took the oath of office in front of an enthusiastic crowd that watched history being made.

''I'm just really excited about getting started. We're really going to focus on professionalizing government and getting our fiscal house in order," she said.

And though her term officially starts today, Driscoll said she planned to head to the office last night just to make sure city crews were prepared for the expected snowfall. ''I want to make sure they're on top of it," she said.

In Cambridge, city councilors voted 8-1 to appoint Kenneth E. Reeves as mayor. Reeves is the state's only openly gay and black mayor. The longtime city counselor also was mayor from 1992 to 1995.

In New Bedford, political newcomer Scott Lang, who handily beat incumbent mayor Fred Kalisz, took office last night.

And in Chicopee, Michael Bissonnette yesterday was sworn in, replacing Richard Goyette, who pleaded not guilty in November to federal charges of extortion.

Globe correspondent Janice O'Leary contributed to this story. Material from the Associated Press was used.

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