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Newly elected N.H. Speaker of the House dies unexpectedly

Dick Hinch in 2017.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Republican Dick Hinch, a longtime New Hampshire state representative, who was just elected Speaker of the House last week, unexpectedly died Wednesday at 71.

“He was a loving husband, father, family man, and veteran who devoted his life to public service,” his office said in a statement announcing his death.

The statement did not give a cause of death.

Senate President Chuck Morse and Governor Chris Sununu expressed sadness at Hinch’s passing.

“His loss will be greatly felt by the people of this state,” Sununu said in a statement.

“New Hampshire has lost one of its best and most dedicated public servants,” said Morse.

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Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy said, “Today the New Hampshire Legislature lost one of our own.”

Hinch, a real estate agent who was elected to his seventh term as a state representative from Merrimack last month, had a longtime goal of becoming speaker. He had previously served as the House Republican Leader and the House Majority Leader.

Republicans picked up control of both the state House and the Senate last month, and Hinch and Morse were sworn in on Dec. 2.

For now, Representative Sherm Packard, a Republican, will be elevated from his role as Deputy Speaker to Acting Speaker.


James Pindell can be reached at james.pindell@globe.com. Follow him @jamespindell and on Instagram @jameswpindell.