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Here comes Charlie Baker: How Massachusetts welcomes governors

The state’s next inauguration will happen on Thursday.

36 — Number of governors’ seats nationwide that were up for election in 2014. Charlie Baker is one of three Republicans to win open seats previously held by Democrats. Arkansas and Maryland’s top state executive spots also turned from blue to red.

January 8 — Day that Governor-elect Baker will be sworn in, at noon. As stipulated by the state constitution, the date falls on the Thursday after the first Wednesday in January.

Leaders of Massachusetts

Baker joins a long tradition of Republican governors in Massachusetts. Since 1914, Republicans have held the highest office in the state for a total of 55 years.


$25,000 — The upper limit on corporate contributions to this year’s inauguration, set by Baker; individual lobbyists are limited to $250. Governor Deval Patrick allowed up to $50,000 for his first inauguration in 2007 and raised more than $1 million to pay for the five-day affair.

Baker’s inaugural events — built on the “Let’s be great, Massachusetts” theme of his campaign — will include an interfaith service and concert.


When Baker moves into his office on the third floor of the State House, he’ll honor one of his predecessors by placing his or her portrait over the mantel. (Patrick chose Governor John Andrew, noted antislavery leader during the Civil War.)


Four items traditionally pass from the outgoing governor to the successor:

1. The pewter key to the governor’s office

2. Former governor Benjamin Butler’s Bible, which he first bestowed in 1884

3. The governor’s gavel, made from oak taken from the USS Constitution

4. The Massachusetts General Statutes, in which the departing governor usually inscribes a message to the governor-elect

Paul Cellucci hands the Bible to Jane Swift in 2001.Barry Chin/Globe Staff/File/Boston Globe


After the outgoing gov meets with the governor-elect in his or her office and imparts the four traditional gifts in the Governor’s Council Chamber, he or she leaves the State House through the central doors, which are otherwise only opened to greet heads of state.


The first governor to take “the lone walk” may have done so out of necessity — some say no one wanted to be seen with the unpopular leader. Now the governor’s jaunt is lined with elected officials as well as members of the House and Senate, the executive branch, and the public. The National Guard traditionally fires a 19-gun salute.

Governor Mitt Romney broke with tradition by taking his walk the evening before Patrick’s inauguration.

Dominic Chavez/Globe File/Boston Globe