Long-serving Republican senator Orrin Hatch has passed away at the age of 88.
On Saturday, 23 April 2022, Orrin Hatch’s death was announced in a statement by the Hatch Foundation. The cause of death was not specified. The Hatch Foundation is a national policy think-tank that seeks to “foster civic participation, bipartisan dialogue, and common-sense solutions to the nation’s most pressing problems.”
As reports on Hatch’s passing refer to him as the longest-serving Republican senator in US history, you might be curious what age Orrin Hatch was when he became senator?
How old was Orrin Hatch when he became senator?
Orrin Hatch was born on 22 March 1934 in Homestead, Pennsylvania. After a career as a trial lawyer, Hatch’s friends and colleagues urged him to consider public service, as reported by the Hatch Foundation’s In Memoriam.
On 10 May 1976, Orrin Hatch filed to run for the US Senate against three-term Democratic senator Frank Moss. Hatch had never run for office before but despite being the underdog he went on to win the election. Orrin Hatch was 42 years old when he first ran for senator.
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Hatch retired from Senate aged 84
In January 2019, after 42 years of serving as Utah’s senator, Orrin Hatch retired at the age of 84. When he retired, Republican Mitt Romney was ushered in to take his place.
Hatch was the longest-serving Republican senator, totalling exactly 42 years in office. Orrin Hatch served from 3 January 1977 to 3 January 2019.
The longest-serving senator in US history to date is Robert C Byrd. Byrd served as a Democratic senator for West Virginia from 3 January 1959 to 28 June 2010. He served 51 years, five months, and 26 days in office. Orrin Hatch is the sixth longest-serving Senator in US history, following Byrd and four other Democrats.
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Having served as Utah’s Senator for over four decades, Orrin Hatch bore witness, and was responsible for, many changes in the United States.
A look at Orrin Hatch’s career in politics
While a staunch conservative on many economic and social issues, Hatch was known for his long list of achievements regarding healthcare. Some of the issues Hatch tackled throughout his career range from support for stem cell research to rights for people with disabilities and shepherding the 1984 National Organ Transplant Act.
Hatch was also known for supporting bipartisan dialogue. He co-sponsored numerous bills with Democrats throughout his career, often with Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy. The politically mismatched senators were friends throughout their career.
It comes as no surprise considering Ted Kennedy served as senator for more than four decades too, from 7 November 1962 to 25 August 2009. Kennedy and Hatch were in Senate together for three of their four decades of serving.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Orrin Hatch’s family and friends at this difficult time.