CONCORD, N.H. –The pictures came off the walls and desk in New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch’s office Friday as he cleared the way for Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan to move in.
The popular Democrat retired after serving four consecutive two-year terms. Hassan, also a Democrat, is a former state senator who will be inaugurated as governor on Thursday.
Lynch says he wants to slip into the background to give Hassan the spotlight. He and his staff cleared the office Friday of paintings, clothing, memorabilia and other items. Painters had already begun preparing the walls for a fresh coat of paint.
Hassan’s inauguration will be at noon Thursday and will feature poetry, prayer and music, including performances by the Cecilia Ensemble, a choir of high school girls from Peterborough, and Briana Nadeau, a singer-songwriter from Durham who will sing the national anthem.
Hassan was one of the architects of New Hampshire’s gay marriage law and has asked New Hampshire Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan to lead attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. Morgan, who has terminal breast cancer, is fighting to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act that bars her wife from receiving federal benefits that would help care for their 5-year-old daughter.
After the ceremony, Hassan will greet well-wishers in a receiving line.
At 4:30 p.m., volunteers will serve as guides for visitors touring the Statehouse as part of an open house. Students from around the state will perform music. There will be exhibits by participants in a robotics competition started by inventor Dean Kamen. New Hampshire LEGO League teams also will set up exhibits in the cafeteria.
Food and drink for the open house is being donated by various New Hampshire businesses.
Hassan is planning two inaugural balls, one on Friday in Manchester and one on Jan. 12 in Bretton Woods.