Overshadowed by the drama of the secretary of state election Wednesday was the equally significant election of Steve Shurtleff, D-Penacook, as New Hampshire’s next speaker of the House.

In our view, Shurtleff’s election to the House’s top post bodes well for the people of New Hampshire. In his 14 years in the House he has shown respect to his colleagues from both parties and a deep love of the institution. As a Vietnam veteran and retired police officer and U.S. marshal, we know he has the respect of his colleagues.

Shurtleff’s comments Wednesday, which were not widely reported, foreshadow a genuine commitment to bipartisan cooperation, which we believe the vast majority of citizens will welcome.

Shurtleff begins his eighth term in the House overseeing a sizable Democratic majority, with the Senate and Executive Council also under Democratic control. Gov. Chris Sununu is the Republicans’ last stronghold in the state.

Instead of boasting about what the new Democratic majorities will do in the months ahead, in his first comments to newly-elected members, Shurtleff reached across the aisle. He specifically credited four people with being his mentors and role models in the House and three of them were Republicans.

Shurtleff first praised Doug Scamman of Stratham, who was elected speaker in 2004, Shurtleff’s first year in the House.

“I learned a lot from Speaker Scamman,” Shurtleff said, speaking without notes. “His demeanor as speaker had a lasting impact on me; the message that it’s important to put partisanship aside and to work for the common good of the people.”

Next, Shurtleff praised former state Rep. Cynthia Dokmo, a Republican from Amherst, who mentored him on the Judiciary Committee.

Shurtleff thanked former House Speaker Terie Norelli, a Portsmouth Democrat who, in 2006, became the first Democratic House speaker since the Civil War, for her leadership, for appointing him House majority leader and chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee, and for his “two happiest years in the New Hampshire House.”

Finally, Shurtleff thanked a colleague from Kingston, Republican Rep. David Welch, who mentored him as ranking member of criminal justice after Shurtleff was appointed chairman.

Shurtleff then noted the New Hampshire Legislature will celebrate its 200th consecutive year in the State House in 2019 and that through the years parties including the Federalists, Whigs, Democratic Republicans, Free Soil and Bull Moose have come and gone.

“Regardless of what political party we belong to, regardless of political ideology, all of us in this chamber share one common bond: we are members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives,” Shurtleff said. “I look forward to working with all of you in the upcoming session to solve not Democratic or Republican issues but the issues facing the people we serve.”

Based on Shurtleff’s track record, we know his call for bipartisanship is sincere.

Sununu on election night acknowledged that he’ll need to work with Democrats to get anything done over the next two years.

“The next two years are going to be a bit different,” he said, after learning the House, Senate and Executive Council would be controlled by Democrats. “But that’s OK. That’s New Hampshire. Anybody who has ideas is invited to the table.”

And Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, the new Senate president, called for “civility and respect,” following her election to the senate’s top post.

We don’t expect Democratic and Republican leaders to agree on all issues, but it would be truly refreshing to see them listen to one another respectfully and to work cooperatively to address the challenges facing the good people of New Hampshire.