New chapter in Mass. government set to begin as Gov. Baker enters last day in office

BOSTON – After serving the state of Massachusetts for two terms across eight years, Governor Charlie Baker’s last full day in office is Wednesday.

The rarely-opened front doors of the State House will open Wednesday evening as Baker takes his ceremonial “lone walk”, leaving the gold-domed building for the final time.

Governor-Elect Maura Healey will be sworn in Thursday, but before that, a symbolic changing of the guard will take place on Beacon Hill.

A Massachusetts tradition – the symbol exchange -- will continue Wednesday when Baker hands over a number of symbolic items to Healey, including the original Pewter Key to the door of the governor’s office, a Bible left by Gov. Benjamin Butler to his successor in 1844, the Governor’s Gavel, which is made from the white oak frame of the U.S.S. Constitution, and a two-volume copy of the Massachusetts General Statutes from 1860.

At times, it was a tumultuous two terms for Baker. His administration weathered many storms, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Merrimack Valley gas explosions in 2018, and the seemingly endless issues with the MBTA.

In his farewell address Tuesday, Baker touted financial gains the state made under his watch.

When he took office, Massachusetts faced a $1 billion budget deficit. In his final fiscal year, the state had a $5 billion surplus – about $3 billion of which was returned to taxpayers last year.

Baker said his passion for the job came from meeting people in cities and towns all across the state. For many, the feeling was mutual, as Baker often found himself at the top of the list of most popular governors in nationwide surveys.

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