House Speaker Dick Hinch, R.I.P.

House Speaker Dick Hinch, R-Merrimack, was a gentleman of cheer and goodwill. Though he held strong convictions and would fight aggressively for policies he thought were right for New Hampshire, he believed that politics should be conducted with civility and understanding.

Humble and unassuming, he was an unlikely political leader in our social media age. But he won people over by listening to them and treating them with respect and dignity.

He was expected to model those virtues as speaker in the next session while pursuing an agenda focused on fiscal restraint, government reform, and individual empowerment. He died only a week into his speakership, just when his friendly, open-handed leadership would have added a certain brightness to a rapidly darkening winter. His passing is a tremendous loss for New Hampshire.