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December 14. 2012 11:14PM

Lynch catches up with friends in Windham

WINDHAM - With four terms soon to be a fond memory, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch said he won't soon forget all his visits to Windham over the years.

During a stop at the Windham Community Development Department Friday morning, the departing governor caught up with some old friends over coffee and doughnuts.

Town officials shook Lynch's hand and patted him on the shoulder, while residents filed into the meeting room, all eager to wish their longtime governor well.

Following the meeting, the governor stopped by the town's cable studio, where he filmed a final program with Salem and Windham State Rep. Mary Griffin.

Over the years, Lynch has appeared on Griffin's local access program, "Windham Watch," on many occasions, said Board of Selectman Chairman Bruce Breton.

Breton, who organized Friday's farewell, said the general feeling was bittersweet, though hopeful for the future.

"He's been very good to the town of Windham over the years," Breton said. "Hopefully this wonderful relationship will continue next year, when we have a new governor in office."

Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan will be sworn in as the state's new governor on Jan. 3.

Beverly Donovan, who serves on the town's economic development committee, recalled meeting Lynch for the first time in 2004 when Lynch was campaigning for his first term in office. During a Rotary Club event held at Park Place Lanes in Windham, Donovan found herself seated next to the soon-to-be-governor and was impressed by his shy demeanor.

"He was just so quiet and reserved; a gentleman," said Donovan. "I think his manner served him well."

Asked about his dwindling days in Concord, the governor didn't mince words.

"When I ran in 2004, I knew I'd like the job, but never realized how much I'd love it," he said. "I think I'm going to need to find myself some type of ex-governors anonymous groups come Jan. 3."

But the time has come for him to move on, he added.

"After eight years, its time for someone else with new ideas to step in. It's better for democracy that way. I am a strong believer in term limits."

Lynch was present when Windham's new high school opened in 2009. Four years later he delivered the commencement speech when the school's first batch of seniors graduated.

"I think we've developed a great relationship over the years," the governor said.

He said he's confident that things are improving for the better when it comes to the long-awaited Interstate 93 widening project - a topic of much importance to locals.

An additional $250 million is needed to complete the stretch of highway from Exit 3 to Manchester, though Lynch said he believes the issue can be resolved and the work completed by 2016 if state agencies continue to work together. Once that happens, Windham stands to gain a great deal, Lynch said.

"I think this will open up the town's economic development opportunities beyond our imagination," he said.

aguilmet@newstote.com


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