Orrin Hatch dies, a long-serving Republican senator at the age of 88

Orrin G.Hatch, the longest-serving Republican senator, has died at the age of 88. He represented Utah for over four decades.

Muhammed Kayan
Muhammed Kayan
24 April 2022 Sunday 10:10
178 Reads
Orrin Hatch dies, a long-serving Republican senator at the age of 88

His death was announced by a statement of his foundation. It did not indicate a cause. In 2019, he retired and started the Hatch Foundation. Republican Mitt Romney replaced him.

Although a conservative on most social and economic issues, he teamed up with Democrats many times throughout his long career to address issues such as stem cell research, rights for people with disabilities, and expanding child's health insurance. He also made friendships with senator Edward M. Kennedy, especially.

A. Scott Anderson, Hatch Foundation chairman, said in a statement that Hatch exemplified a generation of legislators raised on the principles of comity. Orrin Hatch showed us how to be better in a divided nation by forging lasting friendships across the aisle. We would be well advised to follow his lead today, more than ever.

Hatch was also a champion of GOP issues such as abortion limits, and helped to shape the U.S. Supreme Court. He even defended Justice Clarence Thomas from sexual harassment allegations during confirmation hearings.

Hatch was a close ally to Republican President Donald Trump towards the end of his career. He used his position as Chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee in order to bring a major overhaul of the U.S. tax codes before the president. Trump agreed to dramatically reduce two of the national monuments that were declared by previous presidents in exchange for Hatch's support.

Hatch, a long-serving senator, was encouraged by Trump to run again. Hatch, who would have had to face a difficult primary battle and had previously promised not to run again. Hatch, however, stepped aside and encouraged Romney not to run.

Hatch was also known for his side hustle as a singer/recording artist of music that featured themes from his religious faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elaine, his wife and six of their children are still with him.

After a 1976 win, Hatch was elected to the Senate. He went on to become the longest-serving senator of Utah history, winning a seventh term. When the Senate was taken over by the Republicans in 2015, Hatch became the Senate president pro-tempore. He was third in line for the presidency after Joe Biden (the Vice President) and the Speaker.

Hatch was back to one issue throughout his career: limiting or outlawing abortion. This position put Hatch at the heart of one of America's most controversial issues over the past decades. Hatch was also the author of several "Hatch amendments" that sought to reduce the availability of abortions.

He became well-known as one of Clarence Thomas' most vocal defenders against the sexual harassment claims of Anita Hill in 1991. Hatch read aloud "The Exorcist" at the confirmation hearings and suggested that Hill had stolen details from the book.

Hatch was unquestionably conservative but there were times when he differed from his conservative colleagues, including George W. Bush at the time Hatch advocated federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Kennedy and Hatch co-sponsored a $24 Billion program that would have allowed states to offer health insurance to low-income children who aren't eligible for Medicaid in 1997.

Hatch was instrumental in the passage of legislation that toughened child pornography laws as well as made illegally downloading music a criminal offense.

Hatch considered illegally downloading music a personal matter. He was a Mormon and often wrote songs about religion. Hatch also recorded music to help him relax from the stress of Washington. In 2005, Hatch received about $39,000 in royalty payments from his songs.

After appearing on "WOW Hits 2005," an album of Christian pop music, one of his songs, "Unspoken," was made platinum.

Hatch ran for the Republican nomination in 2000. He claimed he was more experienced in Washington than his rivals and could work well with Democrats. Hatch admitted that winning was a distant possibility. After only winning 1% in Iowa's caucuses, Hatch withdrew and endorsed George W. Bush.

After he pulled out of the bipartisan negotiations on the legislation, he became a staunch opponent of President Barack Obama’s 2009 health care law. He said about the legislation, "It's 2,074 pages long." It's enough to make you groan.

Two years after longtime Utah Republican Senator Bob Bennett was swept out of office by a tea party wave, Hatch had to face a difficult re-election fight from a conservative candidate. Bennett and Hatch voted for a 2008 bank bailout, which upset those on the far left.

Hatch invested approximately $10 million in his 2012 race, and worked hard to gain support from tea party conservatives.

Hatch was used playing tough. He learned boxing in Pittsburgh as a child to defend himself against the attacks of larger, older students. He was not afraid to fight and said that he made it a point to quickly make friends with anyone who had disagreements with him.

Hatch stated that he wouldn't seek re-election for 2018 and said, "Every good fighter knows when it is time to put the gloves down."

Hatch, a former bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, moved to Utah in early 1970s. He ran for his first public office as a 1976 candidate and narrowly defeated Democratic Senator Frank Moss.

He defeated Ted Wilson, the Democratic mayor in Salt Lake City, by a substantial margin to win a second term.

He was never again seriously challenged.

Orrin Grant Hatch was a Pittsburgh native who was born in 1934. Elaine Hanson was his wife and he graduated from Brigham Young University, 1959. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a law degree in 1962 and was a partner at Thomson, Rhodes and Grigsby until 1969.

Later, he became a partner at Hatch & Plumb in Salt Lake City. Six children were born to him: Brent, Marcia and Scott, as well as Kimberly, Alysa, Jess, and Scott.

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