Orrin Hatch was also a co-author of a number of laws over the last half century, including the Restoration of Religious Freedom Act
Longtime Republican Senator from Utah Orrin G. Hatch died Saturday, April 23, in Salt Lake City. He was 88 years old. At 42, Hatch was the longest-serving Republican US Senator.
Hatch’s death was announced by the Hatch Foundation. “The Hatch Foundation sadly announces the death of Senator Orrin G. Hatch—Chairman Emeritus of the Hatch Foundation, former President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, and longest-serving Senator in Utah history (1977-2019). Senator Hatch passed away at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded by family,” the Hatch Foundation said in a statement.
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“We have lost a jewel and a true American statesman”
A cause of death was not given. “Senator Orrin G. Hatch embodied the American dream,” said Matt Sandgren, executive director of the Hatch Foundation. “Born to a carpenter and plasterer’s son, he overcame the poverty of his youth to become a United States Senator. With the hardships of his upbringing fresh in his mind, he made it his life’s work to expand freedom and opportunity for others – and the results speak for themselves. From taxes and trade to freedom of religion and healthcare, few legislators have had a greater impact on American life than Orrin Hatch. He has had a profoundly positive impact on the lives of those he served, whether it be the constituents he has helped over four decades of casework, the hundreds of interns he has sponsored in both Utah and DC, or the robust network of Hatch employees who carry on his legacy to this day. Senator Hatch has touched the hearts of countless people, and I know I speak for all of them when I say he is greatly missed.”
Hatch’s childhood was one of poverty and hardship. While his mother was a homemaker, his father was a union carpenter and plaster foamer. His parents raised their nine children after the Great Depression. “When Hatch was just ten years old, he was deeply saddened by the loss of his older brother, Jesse Hatch, who died in Europe during World War II. After Jesse’s death, Hatch decided to have two lives – one for himself and one for his brother,” the Hatch Foundation said.
“That determination drove Hatch to succeed in sports and other extracurricular activities. In high school, he played on the college basketball team, fought as an amateur boxer, and served as student body president. He brought his passion for music, athletics, and student government with him to Brigham Young University in 1952. To fund his way through college, Hatch worked as a janitor during the school year and as a journeyman during the summer. year-long mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ohio and Indiana, which he described as one of the most defining experiences of his life,” the statement said.
Senator Hatch is survived by his wife Elaine and their six children. Hatch has served during the administration of seven Presidents and alongside nine Senate Majority Leaders.
“A man of wisdom, kindness, character and compassion, Orrin G. Hatch was everything a United States Senator should be,” said Scott Anderson, Chair of the Hatch Foundation. “He exemplified a generation of legislators raised on the principles of consensus and compromise, and he embodied those principles better than anyone else. In a divided nation, Orrin Hatch has helped show us a better way by forging meaningful friendships on both sides of the aisle. Today, more than ever, we do well to follow his example. May we honor Orrin’s memory by living as he lived – committed to our country, to our principles, and to one another.”
Hatch was also a co-author of a number of statutes over the past half century, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He helped pass several important bills, including the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act and the Central Utah Project.
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso tweeted: “Orrin Hatch had a truly distinguished Senate career that spanned four decades. He was one of the most productive and effective legislators of our time. Utah and our whole country are better. I’m taking today off because of his ministry. I will miss his friendship and his impeccable sense of humor.” Senator Tim Scott said, “Today we lost a gem and a true American statesman in former Senator Orrin Hatch. He was a great colleague and mentor – and has a Senate seat left a truly remarkable legacy. My heart goes out to Elaine and the family.”
“Sad to learn of the death of my friend Orrin Hatch / I worked closely with Senator Hatch at the Justice Department for 40 years + 20 years at the Treasury Department. We had a very good friendship, he contributed so much to public order and the people of Utah, Barbara and I send our condolences to his family,” said Senator Chuck Grassley. Sen. Amy Klobuchar wrote: “Senator Hatch was nice to me and we worked well together. There were many differences including party, height, age… you name it… but somehow we always looked for common ground. Prayers for his family today. “
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