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Healey attended last night’s White House state dinner. It wasn’t on her list of public events.

Governor Maura Healey and her partner Joanna Lydgate arrive at the Booksellers Room of the White House for the state dinner with the Kenyan president.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Governor Maura Healey jetted to DC Thursday afternoon to attend the White House state dinner with the president of Kenya, a trip her office didn’t publicly disclose until the governor had already left town and the White House had publicized the guest list.

On Thursday evening, Karissa Hand, a spokesperson for the governor, gave notice to reporters that Healey flew to D.C. on Thursday afternoon and that she planned to return Friday morning. A Globe reporter got a text from her at 5:42 p.m., with a link to the guest list the White House had just published.

Wire photos and video showed Healey and her partner, Joanna Lydgate, clad in evening gowns, posing in front of American and Kenyan flags and then walking into the dinner.

President Biden hosted 450 guests at the dinner, including two of Healey’s fellow Democratic governors: Maine’s Janet Mills and New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham, according to the White House.

Grisham’s office publicized her travel to reporters on Monday. A spokesperson for Mills did not immediately return a request for comment.

Massachusetts has a Kenyan population of about 6,000, the sixth-largest in the country, according to Census data.

The state dinner was held outdoors inside a glass pavilion on the South Lawn, which was decorated with glittering candles and a 15,000-piece chandelier, set against a backdrop of fuchsia African orchids and American red roses, according to pool reports.

The star-studded guest list included a range of personalities from former presidents to members of Congress to Hollywood stars like Sean Penn and “Star Trek” actor LeVar Burton.

Guests dined on chilled heirloom tomato soup, fruitwood-smoked short ribs, and butter-poached lobster while listening to musical performances from the Howard University Gospel Choir and country singer Brad Paisley.


From the pavilion, they took in sweeping views of the White House and the Washington Monument as the sun set over D.C.

Including the Thursday dinner, Healey will have spent at least 69 days traveling outside of the state since she took office last year, according to a Globe tally.

The state dinner Governor Maura Healey attended was hosted by President Biden and Jill Biden for Kenya's President William Ruto and his wife Rachel Ruto. HAIYUN JIANG/NYT

Healey has no public events scheduled for Friday, according to the schedule put out by her office. On Thursday, the day Healey traveled to D.C., that schedule only listed an 11 a.m. commencement address the governor gave at Bunker Hill Community College’s graduation ceremony at MGM Music Hall in Fenway.

The unannounced trip to a very public Washington event is in keeping with the governor’s policy of not divulging her out-of-state travel plans ahead of time, a stance Healey adopted in November, citing unspecified security concerns. A regional neo-Nazi group has twice demonstrated outside her Arlington home where she lives with her partner, who has two children. Healey, the first woman and openly gay governor elected in Massachusetts history, later denounced the group for “trying to scare people.”

At the time, her decision to not divulge when she was leaving the state marked a major break from her own past practice and that of her predecessors.

Healey’s office has regularly provided her monthly calendar to news outlets that request it. But that means reporters or the public may not learn when she was out of state until weeks or more after the fact.

In March, for example, the governor initially refused to disclose where she had gone during an out-of-state trip the previous month, saying it was for “personal” travel. At the time, she said that while she intended to share information publicly about “work-related travel,” she would not for her private trips.


She reversed herself days later, acknowledging she had taken a four-day trip to Puerto Rico with her partner. Her aides also said that going forward she would disclose the location of her out-of-state trips, including personal ones, after the fact.

But earlier this month, her office changed their tune.

They did not disclose that Healey twice left the state in April to attend a luncheon in New York and later, a four-day gathering with other Democratic governors in New Mexico.

Healey’s office did give advance notice of a recent trip to a confab in Italy, where she met with business leaders, had an audience with Pope Francis, and announced a new climate initiative during a summit at the Vatican.

Samantha J. Gross can be reached at samantha.gross@globe.com. Follow her @samanthajgross. Matt Stout can be reached at matt.stout@globe.com. Follow him @mattpstout.