A day after voters elected her governor, Maura Healey said one piece of advice now-former governor Charlie Baker gave her was to “really get out around the state.”
Indeed, Baker did. The Republican left office last week after more than 2,900 days as governor and nearly 2,200 public appearances that took him around Massachusetts, the East Coast, and — in rare cases — beyond, according to a Globe analysis of eight years of his public schedules.
In all, Baker made an official public appearance in 143 cities and towns, covering about 41 percent of Massachusetts municipalities. He appeared steps from his office in the State House 625 times, and about 60 percent of all his public appearances took place in Boston.
Baker also frequented Worcester (53 events), Springfield (45), Cambridge (34), and Quincy (29), and of the 2,166 times he appeared at a public event, 92 percent of the time — 1,999 appearances in total — was in Massachusetts.
He made multiple appearances in 86 towns or cities. In at least one instance, Baker’s appearance in a small Western Massachusetts town may have been the first by a governor in a century-and-a-half.
The Globe reviewed the schedules released by Baker’s office from January 2015 through the end of 2022. While it covers a wide swath of his travels as governor, it’s also not exhaustive. The schedules did not include all of his personal travel in that time or stops organized by his campaign or political operation, including during his successful reelection bid in 2018.
Baker has estimated that he visited at least 250 cities and towns while in office. His lieutenant governor, Karyn Polito, laid claim to visiting all 351.
Sizing up Baker’s mobility also comes with another obvious caveat: His second term included the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the virus and temporary restrictions severely limited his, and virtually everyone else’s, travels for months, if not longer.
Over the first five years of his tenure, Baker made 301 public appearances on average per year in Massachusetts. Over the final three years, however, he averaged nearly half that, at 165 public events annually.
The 156 public appearances he made in 2020 were the fewest of any year during his tenure, and the vast majority of those — 115 — were in Boston or the State House, where he held sometimes-daily news conferences to update the public on the state’s response to the pandemic. When Baker traveled to Florida in March 2021 after a death in the family, it was the first time he left Massachusetts in more than a year.
Former Governor Deval Patrick appeared in more than 200 towns and cities over his two terms, according to a Globe analysis in 2015. Patrick, a Democrat, also went on three international trade missions in his final year alone, and embarked on 10 such trips across 15 countries in total. Patrick also made 139 public appearances in Washington, D.C.
Baker’s out-of-state appearances were more limited. He made public appearances in the nation’s capital 74 times, the most of any city outside Boston, and had stops in all five of the other New England states.
Healey made her first official trip as governor outside the State House on Tuesday, when she and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll traveled to Dartmouth for a roundtable discussion on climate change. When Healey told the gathering it was indeed her inaugural trip off Beacon Hill, the room erupted in applause.