The newly elected Republican speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, Richard Hinch, 71 died of COVID-19 one week after he was sworn in, according to Concord Monitor.
Hinch was one of several Republican lawmakers who showed up in person for the outdoor swearing in ceremony at the University of New Hampshire on December 2. Some Democrats chose not to attend the ceremony because they learned the day before that an unspecified number of Republicans have tested positive after attending an indoor caucus meeting where very few in attendance wore mask.
“There are no persons present who either tested positive or who were close contacts. This meeting day is required by the state Constitution, and we were able to get it off the ground while keeping people safe,” Hinch said in a statement at the time to the New Hampshire Union leader . “It is unfortunate that some of my friends from the Democrat party are vilifying fellow House members rather than expressing any camaraderie at the beginning of the new term.”
Hinch’s cause of death was released to the public after the Attorney General’s office received authorization from his family.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu called for all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff, effective immediately.
“Profoundly sad to learn of the passing of Speaker Dick Hinch,” Gov. Sununu said in a statement. “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.”