Longest serving Republican senator, Orrin Hatch of Utah, dies at 88

Former senator of Utah, Orrin Hatch has died at the age of 88, at Salt Lake City, according to an announcement by his foundation, on Saturday. Tributes have poured in from both the parties. He is remembered as a conservative Republican who also worked in tandem with the Democrats when key pieces of legislation had to be passed by Congress. He represented Utah for 42 years and worked with seven presidents of the nation.

The cause of death of the former president pro tempore of the Senate as well the longest serving Republican was not released by the foundation. However, it detailed Orrin Hatch’s contributions to the nation.

Orrin Hatch founded the Hatch foundation in 2019, after he retired from politics. In 2002, he wrote his autobiography called “Square Peg.” He acknowledged that he was not a traditional conservative, although he espoused most traditional causes and supported Judge Clarence Thompson’s appointment to the Supreme Court.

Hatch with Surgeon General of the United States Dr. C. Everett Koop (far right), Elizabeth Koop (left), and HHS Secretary Richard Schweiker (right), (November 16, 1981)

However, he also supported some legislation advanced by the Democrats including federal funds allocation for education on AIDS in 2018 and was among the few Republicans who advocated stem cell research. He was also a close friend of Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, working together on the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 1997.


President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at a Medal of Freedom ceremony Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in the East Room of the White House. First Lady Melania Trump attends. (Official White House Photo by Amy Rossetti)

Orrin Hatch was the chairman of three major Senate committees including Finance, Judiciary as well as Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. He won his first Senate elections in 1976 and ran for the position up to the 2018 elections. He retired in 2019, after serving the nation for more than four decades. He was awarded the highest civilian honor—the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He received the medal on November 16, 2018, by the then president Donald Trump.

The Pennsylvanian born lawyer moved to Salt Lake City, Ohio after marriage, to be near his wife’s family. He and Elaine Hansen were married in 1957 and had six children, whom he referred to as his “Hatchlings.”


(Photo/Credit: stock_photo_world)

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