Republican New Hampshire House Speaker Dies Of COVID-19, Says Medical Examiner

State Representative Richard “Dick” Hinch, the new Republican Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, died of COVID-19 this week at the age of 71, according to an update attributed to the state’s chief medical examiner.

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, a Republican, released a brief update Thursday from Dr. Jennie V. Duval, the state’s chief medical examiner, stating that she “determined that the cause of Speaker Hinch’s death was COVID-19.”

Both chambers of the New Hampshire Legislature flipped to Republican control in 2020 after two years of shared rule between a Republican governor and a Democrat-controlled legislature. New Hampshire has 400 seats in its lower chamber an average of one representative per 3,400 people and during the 2020 race, the voters elected 229 Republicans to those seats, according to the Associated Press. Republicans held only 157 entering the election, while Democrats held 230.

Hinch, who had served in the New Hampshire House since 2008, made his transition from minority leader to speaker on December 2, 2020. He died on December 9, 2020.

“Profoundly sad to learn of the passing of Speaker Dick Hinch,” said Republican Governor Chris Sununu in a statement Thursday. “Speaker Hinch was a fierce defender of the New Hampshire Advantage, a close friend, and a respected public servant. His loss will be greatly felt by the people of this state, and I ask Granite Staters to join me in praying for his family during this incredibly difficult time.”

According to WMUR-9, Hinch was known by his colleagues as an “affable and approachable” man.

“He understood relationships and maximized those relationships in order to get things done. He was a good man and he will be deeply missed,” political analyst Scott Spradling told WMUR-9.

The medical examiner’s update was released the day after Hinch’s death, and after permission was received from his next of kin. No other information was made available.

“During this difficult time, the family has requested that their privacy continue to be respected,” said the state attorney general’s office.

“My heart goes out to Speaker Hinch’s family & all those mourning his loss,” said U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

“He served our state and country honorably, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him while I was Governor,” said Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH).

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