Praise follows Lynch's announcementBy GARRY RAYNO
New Hampshire Union Leader
September 15. 2011 9:49PM
MANCHESTER - Gov. John Lynch's announcement Thursday that he would not seek an unprecedented fifth term as governor was not a surprise to many who praised him for the job he has done in difficult times.
Many noted his ability to work with both Democrats and Republicans and his civil and courteous manner. And almost all thanked him and his family for his years of service to the state.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, praised Lynch's stewardship of the state in difficult times, adding that New Hampshire has weathered the economic downturn better than most states.
'I've known John for over 35 years, and I've watched his love for the people of New Hampshire and our state grow even stronger during his years as governor. I know that he loved this job, and that love was a huge part of his success. We will miss his steady leadership, his dedication to public service, and his commitment to the people of New Hampshire,' she said.
Lynch reappointed current U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte as Attorney General during his third term in office.
Thursday Ayotte said, 'I join citizens across New Hampshire in thanking Governor Lynch for his service to our state. During my time as Attorney General, I appreciated the opportunity to work with him to keep our cities and towns safe.'
U.S. Rep. Charles F. Bass said, 'John and I have been good friends for many years. I've enjoyed working with him on policy issues and other priorities for New Hampshire, and his passion for serving our state will always be remembered. He has served the state with great distinction.'
U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta said, 'I commend Gov. John Lynch on his eight years of service to the Granite State. He will be remembered for the dedication he brought to his job.'
Current state Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley said Lynch leaves 'an amazing legacy,' but said his retirement will open doors for others.
He said people should reflect on what Lynch has accomplished including lowering the state's drop-out rate, providing kindergarten for all, allowing gay marriage, and balancing the budget in difficult times.
Former state Democratic Party chair Kathy Sullivan said she was not surprised by Lynch's decision 'seeing what has gone on in Concord for the last few months. He was the only thing that stood between us and the real horror of where the Republican majorities in the legislature want to take us.'
Sullivan hopes for a large Democratic field in the race for the nomination because she said that will help energize the party. 'I'm not jumping off Rock Rimmon cliff,' Sullivan said.
The Republican State Committee released a statement from executive committee member Jim Foley, Derry Republican chair. He said Lynch and Republicans disagreed about many issues.
'Now is a time to look forward to the real opportunity to have a new leader in the state's highest office that believes in smaller government and bigger freedoms,' Foley said. 'The Democrats in New Hampshire created the largest deficit this state has ever seen and then complained about how the Republicans fixed it. Some of the very Democrats responsible for supporting these bad policies may very well be the ones looking to take Governor Lynch's spot in the Executive Office and we intend to remind the public just where they stood on the more than 100 tax and fee increases, the deficits, the disastrous spending budgets and the attempt to reduce spending made by the current legislature.'
A possible Democratic candidate to replace Lynch, former state Sen. Maggie Hassan of Exeter, praised Lynch for his steady leadership.
'New Hampshire has weathered these troubled times better than most, due in large part to the governor's thoughtful, innovative, and bipartisan governing,' she said.
'When our state was faced with challenges - whether it be a faltering national economy, a devastating ice storm, or keeping the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard open - his approach was to always do what was best for the people of New Hampshire,' Hassan said.
Former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand thanked Lynch for his service, saying, 'Even during extraordinarily difficult times, Governor Lynch did exactly what he said he would do - he watched the bottom line, while caring about people, and protecting critical priorities to move New Hampshire forward.'
Potential Republican gubernatorial candidate and Manchester attorney Ovide Lamontagne said, 'I commend Governor Lynch for his years of public service to the State of New Hampshire and her citizens and thank him and his family for making the many sacrifices that such service requires. Bettie and I wish Governor Lynch, our First Lady, Dr. Susan Lynch, and their family, all the best. I expect, very soon, to make an announcement about my own intentions for 2012, but today is for Governor Lynch and his family.'
Cornerstone Action executive director Kevin Smith said, 'I think Concord needs a fresh, conservative voice and a bold, new vision to fundamentally challenge the status quo in state government. Now certainly isn't the time to elect career politicians or candidates.'
Former State Senate President and current Senate Minority Leader Slyvia Larsen said Lynch has done a great job. She noted he did the right thing by announcing early so other candidates have time to put together campaigns.
Former House Speaker and current House Minority Leader Terie Norelli said Thursday was a 'day to be grateful we had someone at the helm the last seven years who brought respectful consideration while looking out for the best interest of the people of the state. That is particularly challenging in this political environment.'
Current Senate President Peter Bragdon said, 'I have enjoyed working with the governor during our time together and wish him well in the future. As the governor mentioned in his remarks, there is much to be done over the next 16 months and the Senate looks forward to working with him during that time to improve our economy and put New Hampshire citizens back to work.'
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said, 'I have also enjoyed my work with the governor dating back to his time on the UNH Board of Directors. I look forward to working with him on unfinished legislative business in 2012, particularly on passage of a constitutional amendment on education funding.'
House Speaker William O'Brien said, 'The governor has shown a commitment to New Hampshire by stepping up to serve in what is a difficult job for eight years, and has excelled in offering tremendous calm in times of natural disaster, which has been very reassuring for the state.'
House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt said, 'While Governor Lynch and I have differed on many issues throughout his tenure, those of us involved in public service fully understand the tremendous sacrifice that public office entails and I appreciate his years of service and deep dedication to the State of New Hampshire.'
Colin Van Ostern, 2012 Executive Council Democratic candidate in District 2, said, 'Governor Lynch's secret is simple: he genuinely cares first about what is best for the people of New Hampshire, not about the politics or the pettiness that often comes with it. Governor Lynch has been an excellent manager of our state for seven years and there's no question he will continue that leadership in the year ahead. Frankly, our state and our country would be in a lot better shape if we had more leaders who followed in his example.'
Democratic Governor Association Chair O'Malley said, 'For four terms, Governor Lynch has worked to create jobs and opportunity for the people of New Hampshire. By investing in early education and implementing innovative measures that help train and keep workers on the job, he has been an effective governor through some of the most challenging of times.'
'In the coming months, we will have a discussion about who is best fit to fill Governor Lynch's shoes and combat the Republican extremists who have tried to take New Hampshire backward,' he said.Republican Governor Association executive director Phil Cox said, 'New Hampshire Republicans were already fired up at the prospect of turning the state red in 2012. John Lynch's decision to forego a reelection bid increases the GOP's chances of picking up the governorship and puts the Democrats further on their heels nationally in 2012.'