On December 2, Rep Richard ‘Dick’ Hinch was named the state’s Speaker of the House during an outdoor ceremony.
According to The
Just one week later, on December 9, the 71-year-old passed away in his home and the cause of death was ruled as COVID-19.
On December 9, New Hampshire State Rep Richard Hinch was found dead in his home and the cause of death was declared to be COVID-19. Pictured: Hinch speaks during his swearing in ceremony on December 2
It comes one week after Hinch was nominated to be New Hampshire’s speaker of the house on December 2 in a ceremony for which sectioned off an area at the event for about 80 Republican lawmakers who refused to wear masks. Pictured: Hinch receives the gavel as he is named Speaker of the House during the swearing in ceremony, December 2
During a news conference on Thursday, Gov Chris Sununu blasted legislators who didn’t wear masks and openly flouted coronavirus rules (pictured)
It’s unclear when or how Hunch contracted the virus and whether he tested positive prior to his death.
Gov Chris Sununu (R) directed all flags on public buildings to fly at half-staff and, during a news conference on Thursday, called Hinch ‘tireless leader’.
He called the lawmaker’s death ‘a cautionary tale’ about the dangers not wearing a mask and blasted his colleagues for not covering their faces.
‘For those who are just out there doing the opposite just to make some ridiculous political point, it is horribly wrong,’ Sununu said.
‘Please use your heads. Don’t act like a bunch of children, frankly.’
He added at the conference that the virus could affect anyone regardless of their age or occupation.
‘Really just a stark reminder, unfortunately, that this virus really doesn’t care if you’re in a long-term care facility or if you’re an elected official,’ he said. ‘No one is immune.’
And Sununu wasn’t the only one.
Dr William Marsh, a Republican state representative, also took legislators to task for flouting mitigation measures.
‘Those in our caucus who refused to take precautions are responsible for Dick Hinch’s death,’ he tweeted.
A Republican state representative said ‘our caucus who refused to take precautions’ is responsible for Hinch’s death
Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said an investigation is being launched how Hinch contracted COVID-19. Pictured: Hinch gestures as he addresses legislators in Concord, February 2017
According to his biography, Hinch served in the US Navy from 1968 to 1972 and then went on to become a realtor and New Hampshire’s real estate commissioner.
He was elected to the state House, serving as the majority leader from 2015 to 2018 and the Republican leader from 2018 to 2020.
On December 2, he was nominated as Speaker of the House.
‘It is my honor to accept. I am humbled by your support,’ he said during the swearing-in ceremony.
The family released a statement on Wednesday asking for privacy.
‘We ask that Speaker Hinch’s family be given the highest level of privacy and respect as they deal with this unexpected tragedy,’ his office said in as statement.
‘There are no details to share at this time, however, I would ask that you please keep Speaker Hinch’s wife Pat, and their children in your warm wishes.’
Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette told The Union Leader the department will open an investigation into how Hinch contracted COVID-19.
She added that the source Hinch’s infection will not be made public unless the state is unable to reach everyone came into in contact with him.
‘We will do contact tracing from what we find. Beyond that, the information that gets shared publicly is based on the public’s need to know,’ she said.