DERRY – Democrat John Lynch will leave the governor’s office after eight years with an enviable approval rating.
A recent University of New Hampshire poll found two of every three Granite Staters giving him a thumbs up. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents agreed he is doing a good job.
Yet he watched the Democratic sweep election night with no regrets about his decision to step down.
“No,” he smiled and laughed when asked if he had second thoughts that night. “I love being governor of the state of New Hampshire. Part of me thinks I would like to do the job forever. But I also think eight years is long enough and I think it is time to give somebody else the opportunity to do it.”
Lynch, who last week celebrated his 60th birthday, was a successful businessman and university trustee — but political unknown — when he wrested the governor’s office from one-term Republican Craig Benson in 2004.
After the all-business Benson, voters warmed to the Democrat with the warm smile, firm handshake and caring personality.
Lynch has presided over New Hampshire during one of the worst economic periods in the nation’s history and encountered many natural disasters, including floods, a tornado and storms that caused massive power outages for days on end.
But he will depart as one of the mostly highly regarded governors ever, with low unemployment compared to other states, and surveys consistently ranking the state among the safest, most livable and best places to raise kids.
He has learned something about Granite Staters from those years in office.
“How people really come together when there is a need, when there is a crisis,” Lynch said.
It’s not just the disasters, but when the NH Food Bank calls for help.
“The food shows up and the volunteers show up,” he said. “People rally around when there is a need.”