Orrin Hatch, 88, Longest Sitting Republican Senator, Passes

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Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Republican senator on record and the senator who served Utah, died on Saturday at the age of 88.

He died Saturday evening, per the Associated Press, which obtained the announcement through Hatch’s nonprofit.


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“The Hatch Foundation is saddened to announce the passing of Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the Hatch Foundation’s Chairman Emeritus and the longest-serving Senator in Utah’s history (1977–2019).”

In a release from the Hatch Foundation, it was said that Senator Hatch died late in the evening on April 23, 2022, in Utah. He was surrounded by his family at the time of death.

Political Life

Hatch was a member of the United States Senate for 42 years. He was first elected in 1976 and served until his retirement in 2018, according to NBC News.

When Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was being assailed by Democrats with harassment charges during his confirmation hearings, Hatch made headlines by stepping in and defending the justice.

At all times during his political career, the senator from Utah stood up for abortion rights and fiscal conservatism.

A statement released by the Hatch Foundation stated, “Upon his resignation, Senator Hatch had the distinction of having enacted more bills into law than any other senator still alive.”

Through his unwavering work ethic, Hatch established himself as one of the most successful and nonpartisan members of Congress in history.

The senator sponsored or cosponsored more than 750 pieces of legislation that were signed into law in total.

Hatch was born in 1934 in the Pennsylvania town of Homestead Park. In 1959, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Brigham Young University. Ten years later, he moved to Utah.

Hatch left behind his wife, Elaine, and six children.


Condolences

Following the announcement of his death, Republican leaders took to social media to pay tribute to their former comrade.

“I was saddened to read of Senator Hatch’s departure. I worked closely with Senator Hatch for 40 years on the [judicial] committee and another 20 years on the [financial] committee,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in a tweet.

“The former Senator Orrin Hatch was a diamond and a great American statesman, and we lost him today. This senator was a wonderful colleague and mentor who leaves behind a truly remarkable legacy in the Senate.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with Elaine and her family,” commented Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).

His colleagues on the other side of the aisle, with whom he had collaborated for decades on topics like stem cell research and children’s health insurance, also recalled him affectionately.

According to Politico, he was very well-known for lending a helping hand to Democrats wherever he could and calling for political civility.

The death of Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was announced by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who also expressed her condolences.