Her inaugural address to a crowd inside Representatives Hall in the State House sought to not serve not only as coda on her campaign promises but serve also as prologue to her stewardship of the Granite State for the next two years, and perhaps beyond.
The 54-year-old Democrat from Exeter, a lawyer by trade, took the oath from Linda Dilianis, chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
She then administered the oath to the Executive Council.
As it is with each new year, the inaugural of a new governor evoked a feeling of optimism and new sense of purpose.
No doubt, for a time at least, she’ll be measured against the pragmatism and popularity of John Lynch, who served as governor for eight years and who sat in the front row with his wife Susan during today’s pomp and circumstance.
Hassan spoke of the trust given her by the people of New Hampshire in their choice of her over Republican Ovide Lamontagne.
“I will work as hard as I can to honor your trust,” she said.
She sprinkled her remarks with references to the need to innovate and for an innovation economy -- all tuned to the Innovate New Hampshire program she touted as governor and governor-elect.
She established a policy agenda that includes undoing what she referred to as the “shortsighted” actions of the previous Republican-controlled House by restoring funding to the state’s university system and restoring a higher tax on cigarettes.
"To address our challenges and seize the opportunity of innovation, we must summon our best traditions of cooperation and problem solving," said Hassan. "The people of our state collaborate and make things work all the time, and their elected leaders must be able to do the same. The people of New Hampshire have made it clear that they want to restore balance, that they want us to work together."
She marked what she called “the end of an era of hasty, reactive government.”
She telegraphed that she won’t entertain any notion of repealing the state’s gay marriage law. Indeed, she said when it comes to attracting business to the Granite State, "marriage Equality is one of the best recruitment tools I have." And she was quite clear when she said: “I will veto an income or sales tax.”
Her immediate challenge will be to produce a balanced budget against the priorities that she laid out that included a stronger infrastructure of roads, bridges, broadband and clean power.
"While we are seeing signs of recovery and growth, we still face fiscal uncertainty," Governor Hassan said. "We will need to be prudent as we develop our budget. And I am mindful that innovation is not confined to the private sector. We need to continue to find ways to innovate in state government, so that we can honor our tradition of fiscal responsibility while serving the people of New Hampshire effectively and efficiently."
And while she expressed willingness to reach across the aisle to Republicans -- who lost control of the House but who maintain control of the Senate -- she seemed also ready to fight them on the issues she deems important.
“To those on the other side, I ask you to recognize that there are some things that government must do - not only to help our most vulnerable citizens but also to provide the platform for economic growth,” she said. “Needs do not go away simply because we don't fund them. And opportunities for innovation and growth can evaporate if we fail to make smart investments in a timely way. But if we work together we can fund our priorities and balance the budget."
She made no mention of expanded gambling, nor was she specific, in raising the spectre of the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., about how to “to find ways to make our schools and our towns better and safer.”
Hassan is the state’s 81st governor, the second woman governor after now U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
Immediately after the inaugural was completed the state website for the governor’s office changed from that of John Lynch to that of Maggie Hassan.
Paul Briand is an editor with the Live Free or Die Alliance, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that promotes the discussion and analysis of New Hampshire politics and policies.