Shurtleff elected N.H. House Speaker, Soucy voted Senate president

  • Of the 400 N.H. House members, 395 were in attendance during Organization Day to vote for speaker and secretary of state. Geoff Forester—

  • State Rep. Steve Shurtleff speaks to the full House on Wednesday after being nominated to become speaker of the House at the State House. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • In this April 17, 2014 photo, state Sen. Donna Soucy speaks in favor of repealing the state's death sentence in Concord, N.H. The senate later voted 12-12, which kept the century old death sentence on the books. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) Jim Cole

Associated Press
Published: 12/5/2018 12:09:14 PM

State House of Representatives Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff is the chamber’s new speaker.

The longtime state representative from Concord defeated House Republican Leader Dick Hinch of Merrimack by a 237-152 vote Wednesday.

In last month’s elections, Democrats regained control of the House for the first time in four years, grabbing a 233-167 majority.

Of the 400 re-elected and newly elected state representatives, 395 were present for Organization Day, when the new Legislature was sworn in by Gov. Chris Sununu.

Shurtleff, 71, is a Vietnam War veteran and a retired deputy U.S. Marshal. He was first elected to the House in 2004.

In a bipartisan-themed speech before the vote, Shurtleff said “regardless of what political party we belong, regardless of our political ideology, all of us in this chamber share one common bond. We are members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.”

Shurtleff, becoming emotional, described how as a kid growing up in Concord “this building has always been so central in my life. And to be elected by you as your speaker means, well, words can’t express to you what it means to me.”

Hinch, in his speech, recollected that “I’ve served in the minority twice, it’s not pretty.”

But looking to what he hopes will be “absolute success” for his party in the 2020 election, he urged his fellow Republicans to resist the frustration of being in the minority because “those challenges can turn into opportunities for the future.”

In the other chamber, Democrat Donna Soucy was elected president of New Hampshire’s Senate.

Soucy of Manchester was unanimously elected president of the Democrat-led chamber on Wednesday. She’s serving her fourth term in the Senate.

She served as a state representative in the same seat her mother, Lillian Soucy, once held. She also had served on Manchester’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen, like her father, C. Arthur Soucy.

In a statement, Soucy said, “I am grateful to my colleagues for their confidence in me and I look forward to leading the Senate with civility and respect as we get to work on behalf of the people of New Hampshire.”

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