Yes, I am really running for Mayor of Salem, MA.

17 years ago Kim Driscoll ran for and won Mayor of Salem, MA as a virtual unknown, last month on social media I announced my candidacy to do the same. Perhaps you have noticed that new hashtag #SkipForSalem?  So who am I ? and why am I running for Mayor of Salem Massachusetts?

Who am I?

I was born in the Midwest, in a hospital in the City of Chicago in 1961 the oldest of 3 kids We moved to New Rochelle, NY in the summer of 1969 after my father recovered from shrapnel wounds he received while reporting as a CBS news producer in Vietnam. I grew up in New Rochelle which was then a middle-class suburb 30 minutes outside NYC. I graduated from New Rochelle High School in 1979.

I attended Northeastern University in the fall of 1981 and studied Communications as a major and Journalism as a minor. Northeastern did not have a lot of communication-related internships to choose from, let alone co-op assignments. So I needed to create my own. I went to student unions at Boston University and Emerson College and was very prompt in interviews. It worked and I did co-op placements with John Sullivan Associates and WGBH and honed my TV production skills. As I neared the finish line, I didn’t know I had dropped 4 classes over the previous 4 years. I had to take an overload of classes to finish with my peers. I made the dean’s list with high honors in my last two semesters and received my Bachelor’s degree on the old Boston Garden Parquet floor.

I worked at the Harvard Business School right out of college in multimedia support videotaping and post-producing video support materials used in the MBA program and executive education programs at HBS. I became an active member of the Harvard University Community and a master at linear and nonlinear editing while taking classes at night and participating in athletics for staff. I coached a staff men’s basketball team to a championship and coached a softball team to a second-place finish. I had become a successful big fish in a small pond but I wanted more so I left Massachusetts for Hollywood in 1991.

Hollywood was a tough nut to crack, we were headed into another recession back then and when I met with a family friend at Dick Clark Productions he told me to go home. I worked at DCP however and then at CBS on the soap The Young and the Restless as a production assistant. I worked long hours and reaped a few benefits. I took a break and moved to San Diego, CA at the advice of a friend. I spent the next 4 years working in sound lighting and staging for large events and bands in San Diego. I also became a green cross certified safety officer for the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau. I also learned to surf and did so as often as I could. I returned shortly thereafter to Hollywood after working as a Production Coordinator on Spring Break 1994 for MTV in San Diego.

I spent the next several years working freelance in the Los Angeles area. I worked at CBS, ESPN, MTM, and DCP, and I also worked in staging corporate events. I then moved to the Bay area, and I became a very successful account manager in staging hi-tech trade shows in Silicon Valley. I did trade shows all over the US for clients and companies and then finally moved back and settled down in Massachusetts in 2001.

I met the woman who would later become the mother of my two fantastic children; CJ and Sabrina. CJ is currently living in Seattle and Sabrina is a Sophomore at UMass Amherst where she is an English major. 

In 2016 I was ready to purchase a home.  My daughter and I love Salem, Halloween, costumes, and the whole atmosphere of Halloween in Salem as a whole. So looking for a property in Salem was a no-brainer.  She not only picked out the condo but had already selected her room before I had closed…

Why am I running for Mayor?

I have an undying need to help others and that need has never been fully explored. Being Mayor will allow me to help as many of the 44,000-plus people who live here in Salem. I also told my daughter long ago that if Kim Driscoll ever left I would run for mayor of Salem and here we are. I told my late father the same thing shortly before he passed at 92 last summer and he offered his unwavering support if that were to ever come to fruition. My friends that go back 30 years are all very enthusiastic and supportive so again here we are.

I believe in love over hate, I believe that ALL people should be judged by the content of their character and little else. I have many friends and family members in the LGBTQ+ community and I am very supportive. I have marched in the North Shore Pride parade alongside a flurry of other allies.  I believe climate change is real. We will need to plan and prepare for its eventual impact on our great city. I believe in reducing our carbon footprint. I believe that we can create affordable housing so more middle-class families can live and raise children in Salem. I believe in Salem education and I will support the ongoing efforts that are showing promise with all my fiber. Charter schools are a wonderful alternative but alone will not solve the educational issues we currently have or serve as a long-term solution. The recent traffic patterns need to be reevaluated and updated where possible. I believe in a 5-cent deposit on all mini-bar or nip bottles so they can disappear from under our feet. I believe in affordable healthcare, taking care of our city’s people, and continuing the healthcare efforts started and maintained by Mayor Kim Driscoll. I also believe in taking care of our seniors and expanding programs for them.

Lastly, I still believe in leaving this world a better place when I leave than when I entered it.

Thanks for reading.

Robert A. “Skip” Bensley


If you would like to help me win the mayoral race please visit

#TBT Story

The one about when “There was no Joy, in Joyriding”

So as teens when you are raised in an affluent part of Westchester County in New York State you run out of things to do. Mini bikes did it, go carts did it, joy riding in a stolen parents car with only a learners permit, hmmm.

My pal Glenn had just gotten his learners permit and was glad when his parent’s went away for a week. Jon and Glenn, Beth L and I all jumped into Glenn’s fathers pristine gold tone Volvo and off we went. There we were driving around like adults with no license and a fast turbo charged 4 cylinder leather interior barca-lounger to joy ride in.

We drove down Quaker ridge road then down weaver street. We buzzed by the YWHA just in case anyone we knew saw us. WE turned around in the Golden Horshoe parking lot, and then headed back down weaver when we ran into a police car coming in the opposite direction.

Shit!. We were spooked of course and Jon suggested we take the back roads back to their house near Quaker ridge road. It was a sunny day 70’s sprinklers were going in this neighbor hood on the cusp of Scarsdale and New Rochelle. Music was playing, we were laughing and then the Golden Volvo skidded just a little and we grazed the oncoming station wagon making a rather noticeable dent on the driver left side. No body was hurt but Glenn was having kittens and Jon was trying to comfort his brother. It was then that we all got out to see the damage and make sure the other car was ok.

To our shock and surprise 4 teenagers ( from Scarsdale perhaps) were doing the same surveying of damage. I yelled out are you guys ok, they said yes but that they were fucked, and thats when jumped back into the Volvo and headed to Jon and Glenn’s house. What were the chances that 8 kids went joy riding in 2 stolen cars and crashed into one another. They had to be astronomical, but we did it.

We got back to Jon and Glenn’s house talked about it and headed our seperate ways. I got a call from Jon later and he walked me thru the parent story about how his dads car got stolen and was being driven to the bronx by another friend and that I should stick to that story if his dad followed up with me. This plan while well thought out and executed did have one flaw, my father standing behind me very intently listening. Suffice it to say there was no joy from that joy riding and it took over a year to get ungrounded and be allowed to hang with Jon and Glenn again.

To Glenn’s credit I think he spent the next 6 years working part time and paying for his Dad’s Golden Volvo. He was allowed to breathe air as long as he bought the car he stole.

What is your plan?

Make sure you vote, sitting out this time is not an option.

Do you remember what happened last time? We didnt take him serious enough, we didn’t realize that there were so many angry old white men who were sitting at home with nothing to do but stir things up. Stir things up they did.

Sure the Russions influenced these poor angry white guys and made them believe that Donald Trump was their saviour, that he would save them all. Has he saved them? Really?

Trump supporters are very loyal, to the point of following their leader into the ER room after getting Covid 19 from an indoor rally. This of course is their choice, if they want to die after all that is their right. They will also fight for the right to life almost as viamently as they will fight to perhaps die.

Don’t be fooled however into thinking That Biden Harris are a lock however. Every vote counts and every electoral counts. We need to make sure Trump and Pence are gone.

We have lost our way as a country. We are divided, there is no United States. We don’t lead the world in anything anymore except reality TV , drug addiction and Covid deaths. Is this really what we want for our children?

Make a plan and vote, this is way too important this time. Oh and if you sat by the sidelines in 2016 shame on you.

#makeaplan #votehimout #election2020 #blacklivesmatter

Happy 69th Birthday Mr. Williams, I mean Robin.

For Robin’s what would have been his 69th birthday today I thought I would share my random run ins with this kind man. It was about 22 years ago when I lived on the west coast in SF bay area. I was living in San Mateo but dating a woman in IT who lived in the Marina district. On this day her twin sister drove up with family from Monterey and I was playing soccer with a border collie that travelled north with them.

It started to drizzle and then rain rather hard and I seeked refuge with others in the old domed Exploratorium. I was pretty much left to fend for myself as my then soon to be ex GF walked off with her family. I walked inside and well explored, that’s what you do at an exploratorium after all, right?

So I found this exhibit or display that was widely popular and it measured your right and left brain by flashing imagery and then asking you to recreate it to the best of your ability with chalk, and I guess they measured it through video capture somehow.

Anyway, I am there and I open a sliding shiny onyx colored door to see the picture which I did. I then closed it back, and I was about to take up the chalk and draw what I think I saw, and that’s when I saw Robin Williams, in the reflection, chin on his fingers watching me intently. No pressure.

I think I started sweating next honestly, but what I did was open the other door, took the chalk and wrote congratulations Mr. Williams on winning the best supporting oscar for good will hunting. He smiled broadly, leaned down in my right ear and said thank you very much in an elvis presley voice. I turned and said thank you Mr. Williams, he said no I’m Robin and extended his hand.

For the next 8 or so magical minutes I told him my life’s history did Fernando Llamas at him ( which he said while good he said, He told me Billy Crystal hates when people do his impression at him) I told him I loved Good morning Vietnam, Mork and Mindy, I was riffing through his catalog and he was laughing and riffing back. It was then that his family rejoined him he had his wife and his two kids in tow. And as I noticed My soon to be ex GF and her family that had abandoned me outside walking towards me from the other end of the Exploratorium I asked a small favor.

We did a slap thing next and I just tried to follow him but we made up a handshake and then said goodbye. His words were take care chief.

When my soon to be ex GF’s family finally caught up to me they asked me how in the World I knew Robin Williams and I told them rather mischievously that Robin and I were old friends.

I did see Robin and his kids one other time in Golden Gate park. Robin was exiting with his children from the back of what I thought was a range rover. The kids in bike riding gear and helmets, then the bikes all being deployed with the precision of a military exercise. As I walked by he said how’s it going chief? I responded back looking good Robin. He gave me a thumbs up and was gone.

The point of my post is this, I have never heard anyone say anything bad about this man or his willingness to give time, kindness and generosity. Robin was practically light personified. He took time to talk with me, listen to my bad impressions, and was present throughout. We need more of that right now.

I miss you Mr.Williams, I mean Robin, and I always will.

People in Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas What don’t you get? Wear a mask Idiots!

To all of you that seem to learn slower than others wear a mask!.

If you think I am talking about you, I am, wear a mask.

If the current POTUS says don’t wear a mask he is worrying about winning the next election not about you dying wear a mask.

If you go to the store you have to wear a mask.

If you go to dinner outside, you ned to wear a mask until you are seated.

If you attend a large funeral without a mask, your funeral maybe next wear a mask.

90% beds filled in Houston Texas because they didn’t wear a mask.

People partying in the Ozarks dying now because they didn’t wear a mask.

People in Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas all showing surge in Covid Cases. It’s not because of testing its because people didn’t wear a mask. Aren’t all these States Trump States? Is he trying to kill off his base?

Wear a mask!

It’s time to write again.

Do more.

I recently watched Hamilton not once but twice and yes it was amazing. The amazing part in addition to the tremendous and diverse cast is the message to do more.

I am actively working now with the DNC and black lives matter movements as I can. I will not accept another 4 years of sitting on the sidelines waiting for someone else to do something. It’s our time to take our country back and head it back in the direction of diversity, and prosperity for all.

Not sure how long it will take to mend international relationships but if I can help I will try. Take your shot however small and make a difference. Start small, remember every pebble cast into water creates a large ripple.

Why Kyrie needs to go.

It’s time to let Kyrie Irving go. It’s time to face the facts that win or lose this guy is headed either to the New York Knicks, or he is headed to Los Angeles Lakers. Considering his acting career desires, The Lakers makes more sense.

Lets face it, the young Boston Celtics play much better team basketball without Kyrie. That, and their collective body language around him now is almost as bad as Melania’s around the Donald.

It appears Anthony Davis also wants nothing to do with the Celtics so finding a young star in the middle will not be easy. Who is out there? Can we solve anything with draft picks? I think trading Kyrie to the Lakers for a package of players and draft picks makes sense. Let’s make this years run without him. We did pretty well last year. Danny Ainge , it’s time.

This feels like the end.

This current Patriots season has been off, it has been off all year. Whether it was losing to former player coaches badly, Josh Gordon’s drama, or now more recently the Josh Mcdaniels thingy its just an off season.

The defense has gotten better as time has gone on and that’s a tribute to the players on that side of the ball and the coaching of course. Tom Brady has been off, Gronk has dropped off the earth, and Julian Edelman is still screaming let’s go but nobody is listening.

It would appear that perhaps, and this is from watching body language (Para-language) cues all year that something final is happening this time in Foxboro. I will bet that win lose or draw this is it for Brady, Bellichek and Gronk. Josh Mcdaniels will probably be left with the task of rebuilding and trading or drafting a new quarterback in April. It is just a hunch, but body language often speaks louder than words, and this years words seem pretty final, win or lose.

When New Years wishes go sideways.

So I made the mistake of sending happy New Years greetings to all of my Facebook messenger contacts. Many friends saw it and Ignored it and others sent wishes back. Then there was that woman who thought I stalked her some how. Suddenly I was stalking her.

Nowadays even a random happy new year can’t go unpunished. Happy New Year!

Save your End of year advice.

As 2018 closes I am so over people coming out of the wood work to wish us all good luck in 2019. The contempt becomes palpable when somebody starts waxing philosophically, as if their nugget of wisdom might solve the worlds problems. Where were all those sparks of wisdom the rest of the year? Did you wake up today December 31, 2018 wiser? I think not.

Here are some random closing remarks. Share more, ask more, volunteer more, work out more, eat less, reduce your carbon footprint, be there more, be here less.

Happy New Year!