Open Thread: State of the Legacy Edition

This morning Governor John Lynch will deliver his final State of the State address to the General Court.

His record-setting eight years in office have been characterized, perhaps, by cautious steering between ideological extremes. As his era ends, New Hampshire  (like the nation) is slowly recovering from the national recession, having suffered a bit less than other states.

He leaves the state with a stronger commitment to civil rights and education than he found it. But he also leaves it with the central issue of funding – for education, even for roads and bridges – unresolved. Ours is the weakest Governorship in the nation, between the short terms, the Executive Council, and the holdover commissioners across the government. So, hoping for complete resolution may be too much.

How will you remember the Lynch years? How can the Governor best serve the state until his successor takes office?

This is an Open Thread.

  • elwood

    his commitment to making government work, as shown by both appointing strong and competent leaders throughout state government, and maybe most visibly by the emergency response process.

    It’s easy to mock the flood responses – at least, if your town isn’t flooded – but those events are a baseline for the credibility of state government. Fail there, and you provide ammo to the “government is the enemy” crowd. Succeed there, and you get a more receptive audience for innovative ideas.

  • cblodg

    How accessible Governor Lynch made himself.  You could always see him out and about doing daily activities.  I had the pleasure of seeing him multiple times when he would drop his dog off at the kennel or out shopping.

    Like elwood, I too will remember how he made New Hampshire’s government “just work” (to steal from Steve Jobs).  Under his leadership New Hampshire has staved off a terrible economy, recovered from many natural disasters, ushered in new expanding base for civil rights and our education drop out rates are far lower than they ever have been.

    I think it still said something about the leadership and character of the man that in a election cycle such as 2010, where a massive victory of Republicans occurred, Governor Lynch drew 52.6% of the vote.  I still believe he could win another term if he wanted it.  I will miss his leadership very much in Concord.  He will go down as one of, if not THE, greatest governors New Hampshire has ever had.  

  • political chowder

    Senator Kelly Ayotte

    • FrankLloydMike

      and I’ll never really understand why he re-appointed Kelly Ayotte as AG. His governorship has been far from perfect, but I still think his record has been very good overall.

      As much as I disagree with his appointment of Ayotte–among some other endorsements, appointments and policy positions–I think that most New Hampshirites admire and look for the sort of reasoned, measured, pragmatic leadership that he has provided. Especially with how weak the governorship is, I think most people are looking for a competent manager–certainly more so than they are a blowhard like O’Brien or an ideologue like Lamontagne.

      There were plenty of outside forces–a national tide, changing demographics, strong congressional candidates–that led to Democrats’ historic victory in 2006, but I still think taking control of the legislature would have been much more difficult without a pragmatic progressive–even a moderate one–as an immensely popular governor running for re-election.

      There are plenty of positions and decisions I disagree with, but I have never doubted John Lynch’s sincerity or dedication to the people of New Hampshire. Kelly Ayotte is part of his legacy–even though she may have won in 2010 without his re-appointment–but so too are the Democratic majorities from 2006-2010 and the myriad legislative victories from those years. And so to is the contrast in character, principal and philosophy that he is aptly displaying against Bill O’Brien and his ilk today. That contrast would serve Democrats well in November, and I’ll personally miss him being there to represent it.

    • Kathy Sullivan 2
      • mevansnh

        Thanks.  I don’t know you except from comments on BH, so I have no idea what your remark might mean.

        • Kathy Sullivan 2

          That Chowder has blinders on when it comes to Governor Lynch, similar to the blinders she wore when Governor Shaheen was Governor. Two of the best governor in the state’s history, responsible for many, many good things, and I think the utter refusal to acknowledge that is sad.

          That’s all.

          • Putney Swope

            You cannot deny it, no matter what else he has done.

            • Ray Buckley

              Chowder said:

              his legacy? three words  
              Senator Kelly Ayotte

              As if it was his entire legacy which is unfair and incorrect by any rational measure.

            • Kathy Sullivan 2
    • elwood

      it didn’t give the the Senate seat.

      If Lynch had refused to reappoint her she would have run for the Senate seat as the AG who was too much a Republican, or too much a defender of Right-to-Life, for Lynch.

      That wouldn’t have hurt her campaign in 2010.

      • mevansnh

        Ayotte was offered the AG position for a second term, she promised the governor to fulfill the term, and then two months later resigned to run for Gregg’s Senate seat once he announced his plan not to run again.  So she ran as a former AG who was a defender of Right-to-Life and as a strong supporter of the Death Penalty.  (How ironic).

      • Putney Swope

        Supported by a paucity of facts.

        • elwood

          The claim that Lynch made her Senator?

          Or the claim that running as a former AG who was denied reappointment, is no more difficult than running as a former AG who quit a couple of months later?

          Both are speculation, both are unprovable.

          But my belief gives a little more credit to the voters, than does the claim that Lynch determined the race.

          • Putney Swope

            The AG is the second most visible position in the state.

            Lynch’s reappointment of Ayotte helped facilitate her election.

            It would have a much harder path for Ayotte’s election had she not been reappointed.

            • elwood

              If the AG is “the second most visible position in the state,” she got the visibility when Benson appointed her – and kept if longer when Lynch had little choice but to reappoint her the first time, with a solid Republican Executive Council.

              Denying her the second reappointment in November doesn’t make that name recognition disappear by January.

              Again, I opposed that second reappointment – but it isn’t credible to claim it gave her the Senate seat.

              • elwood

                made it easier for Ayotte to masquerade as a moderate – why, Lynch reappointed her! That shouldn’t have counted for too much once the campaign got underway – actual positions are stronger evidence – but it clearly helped rather than hurt.  

                • Ray Buckley

                  That Ayotte pledged to serve out her full term of 2009 – 2014.

                  • Rep. Jim Splaine

                    Regardless of all this, “Senator Ovide Lamontagne” would be any better for our state or our nation?

                    I recall that Governor John Lynch strongly supported our nominee, Paul Hodes.  Kelly Ayotte is not part of his legacy.  No, he hasn’t been a “perfect governor,” but he sure has been an excellent one.

                    And I expect that we will see him continue to star as he vetoes any legislation that would repeal or reduce our marriage equality law in New Hampshire.  

            • Kathy Sullivan 2

              A lamp post would have been elected in 2010 if it had run as a Republican. That isn’t a commentary on our candidate, it was just one of those years. Blaming that on Governor Lynch is ridiculous.

              You and Chowder just have bees in your bonnet about Governor Lynch like you did over then Governor Shaheen.  

              • Putney Swope

                You’re the one with selective memory.

                This is the only bee in my bonnet about the Governor.

  • elwood

    We can build on our success, but overall New Hampshire has a strategy that is working. Let’s not mess it up.

    Let’s not mess it up is a pretty good slogan for running against candidates who want to gut our schools, let a million guns bloom, and follow NOM’s lead on breaking up marriages.

    • Mike Hoefer

      That is catchy…

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