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Gov. Lynch Tells The Exchange He Has No Interest In A Job In Washington, D.C.

Michael Brindley, NHPR

In an exit interview of sorts with The Exchange Tuesday morning, Gov. John Lynch said he has no interest in pursuing elected office in Washington, D.C.

Lynch's political future was among a variety of issues touched on during the interview, including infrastructure, education and expanded gambling. This live blog provides the highlights from the discussion, which will be rebroadcast on NHPR at 8 p.m.

New Hampshire Public Television will broadcast the interview on Jan. 1 and again on Jan. 5.

9:55: Advice for Hassan:"I think Maggie doesn't need my advice. She's going to be very pragmatic." We met and talked. She's going to work very well with the Senate leadership, has great relationship with House leadership.

9:52: I expect to go back into private sector, may do some teaching.

9:51:  On two-year term for governor in New Hampshire: "I think two years is fine." Only issue is raising the money, but I don't think the length of the term is much of an issue. Would you consider running for governor again? "No. I want to be a good ex-governor." I plan to have a very low political profile. No plans for a book.

9:49: Has President Obama approached about a role in administration? "No." Challenging Ayotte? "No." I have zero interest in running for U.S. Senate. I just want to be in New Hampshire."

9:47: On medical marijuana: "I'm not opposed to medical marijuana." The problem is there is no way to control medical marijuana and distribution. Have seen it happen in other states. Hospitals won't dispense it because not federally approved. "I don't see a way that it can be distributed and contained."

9:43: On casinos: Still opposed to expanded gambling. Worried about proliferation, over 20 years, state will enter another downturn, need for more revenue, people will say we already have a casino, why not build another one? "Over time we'll have more casinos, more expanded gambling. And you won't be able to shut it off." Casinos would change New Hampshire's brand. "It's a bad idea."

9:40: On not being able to get education funding amendment through Legislature: "There's so many differences of opinion on what should go into an amendment." I wanted an amendment to affirm state's responsibility to education, but allow us to target money to communities that need it. Only way to make sure every child gets a quality education. Some wanted to allow state to abandon responsibility to fund education. "That basic disagreement" kept us from approving an amendment.

9:38: There's a lot of outside money coming in during election time, but shouldn't change the way New Hampshire does business. Out-of-state groups need to stay out of New Hampshire and let us make our own decisions.

9:33: Position on Northern Pass: "I have made it very clear that I think the goals of the project are worthwhile." However, I also made it clear shouldn't go forward unless local communities support it. Made that clear to leadership at PSNH. PSNH could have handled it better, getting local people involved in the solution. Burying lines "still needs to be looked at."

9:31 On gay marriage: My own personal opinion on this issue has evolved. So many people have thanked me for legalizing gay marriage. "It's made their lives better. They're no longer thought of as second-class citizens." Not one person has said to me it's negatively impacted their lives. "I wish these out of state groups would stay out of our state." The issue is settled, people of New Hampshire have accepted it, we need to move on.

9:29: Would you advise Governor-elect Hassan to look at raising gas tax? "I think she should look at all options," then work with Legislature to find a way to pay for widening I-93.

9:27: It's not right to take a position to support widening I-93 without proposing a way to pay for it. "That's not right."

9:26: Made great strides with infrastructure in the state. Completed widening of Spaulding Turnpike, going to alleviate congestion and enhance public safety. I was hoping we'd make more progress with I-93. "Still a shortfall of $250 million to get that widening completed to Manchester." It's the perfect time to do it. They could have it completed by 2016. Made progress with health care, as well.

9:24: On higher education funding: I don't think it should have been cut; would have at a minimum kept it flat funded. "To cut it by 50 percent was way too Draconian."

9:22: Would have spent more money on education. Would have liked to have had money for school districts to apply for, getting them to work together, particularly around technology. Had proposed that to Legislature, didn't get through.

9:21: "Lean manufacturing" helps make government more efficient. Example is allowing people to renew driver's license online. "That's a great example of being more efficient; programs like that in all agencies of state government.

9:20: "It always is a balance. You need to keep spending low," but still balance out what the needs of the people are. You need to make tough decisions.

9:18: On dealing with recession: "It was very, very challenging." Get in and zero-based the budgets and focused on priorities, allowed us to get through without making major structural changes. Had to make some layoffs, unfortunately.

9:14: Changing dropout age to 18 was "defining legislation for New Hampshire." Gives kids a chance. Dropping out at 16 no longer an option. Helps economic development, gives employers more qualified workers. Dropout rate now below 1 percent. "That's why it was successful."

9:13: Two biggest accomplishments? One is bringing people together to solve problems, whether it's education or natural disasters. Second is being accessible to people. "I like the fact that people call me."

9:11. On running a private business versus being governor: There are similarities. "In both cases I think you need to build a team." In private sector, had to earn trust of employees; same with being governor. "I get up every morning and believe I have to earn the trust of the people of New Hampshire."

9:09: Working with Legislature: Never cared about party." I just want to work together with people to solve problems." Putting partisanship aside is important to working with lawmakers.

9:08: On running against Benson: "A lot of people told me not to run, but I took the risk." It was mostly my idea. My family strongly encouraged me. "We did it together. It was a family event."

9:05: On low-key style: "We all should be measured in terms of results, not style." Accomplishments over last eight years significant. Unemployment rate relatively low compared to national numbers. In private and public sectors, leaders should be measured by results.

9:04: I expect Legislature to have a "greater degree of civility" than what we saw in last two years. People expect us to be more centrist.

9:02: On popularity: Eight years went by quickly. It seems like just yesterday elected for first time. Focused on helping people and being bi-partisan. That's what I committed to do in 2004. 

9:01. Gov. Lynch has arrived and is prepping for his interview with Laura Knoy.

8:36: This is Michael Brindley at NHPR. We're set to get started with this morning's live blog of Gov. John Lynch on The Exchange. The discussion starts at 9 a.m. Follow this morning for updates from the conversation.

Michael serves as NHPR's Program Director. Michael came to NHPR in 2012, working as the station's newscast producer/reporter. In 2015, he took on the role of Morning Edition producer. Michael worked for eight years at The Telegraph of Nashua, covering education and working as the metro editor.
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