EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 1, 2012

Time to step down

Popular, four-term N.H. governor has no regrets

(Continued)

Lynch pauses, a lump in his throat, when he talks about his worst day in office.

“I think my worst day on the job was the day (Manchester police officer) Michael Briggs was killed,” he said. “I think that was the hardest.”

Right up there were the days he learned Franconia Officer Bruce McKay and Chief Michael Maloney of Greenland were killed in the line of duty. So, too, are the days a soldier from New Hampshire has fallen in Afganistan or Iraq.

“Those are difficult days,” he said.

A highlight was visits with fourth-graders, who spend their year in school studying about the state. Lynch said he will leave meetings with people, no matter how important they think they are, to see the students.

The T-shirts and caps the students have given are cherished.

“That is the most fun thing I get,” he said.

Students sometimes give other tributes. A class from the Broken Ground School in Concord learned Lynch loved the musical group Gary Lewis and The Playboys, then changed the lyrics to a song of theirs to fit Lynch’s own story.

It made it to YouTube and Lewis later e-mailed Lynch’s wife, Susan.

Lynch dismisses questions about regrets, saying he doesn’t dwell on those. But he concedes disappointment over failing to get a state constitutional amendment to address education funding.

Then there is the Interstate 93 widening.

Lynch said he wished the state was in position to close a $250 million shortfall to complete widening the highway to four lanes both north and south.

He opposed eliminating a $30 vehicle registration surcharge he maintains would have provided most of the funding for the work. He said a gas tax increase or using some revenue from toll increases also could finance the work.

“If we move forward aggressively on the project, it can be completed by 2016 and the time is right,” Lynch said, citing a favorable environment for construction spending.

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