Former Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch Dead At 88


Joe Roberts Contributor
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Former Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah died Saturday evening at the age of 88, according to a press release by his foundation.

Hatch, a former president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate and the longest serving senator in Utah history, served 42 years in Congress under seven different presidents before retiring in January 2019. He finished as the ninth-longest-serving Senator in American history and helped pass over 750 pieces of legislation into law, more than any other living member of Congress, according to the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation.

The Foundation released a statement Saturday evening claiming the former Senator died at 5:30pm in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded by family.

“Senator Orrin G. Hatch personified the American Dream,” said Matt Sandgren, Executive Director of the Hatch Foundation. “Born the son of a carpenter and plaster lather, he overcame the poverty of his youth to become a United States Senator … he was a profoundly positive influence in the lives of those he served, whether they were the constituents he helped over four decades of casework, the hundreds of interns he sponsored in both Utah and DC, or the robust network of Hatch staffers who carry on his legacy to this day. Senator Hatch touched the hearts of countless individuals, and I know I speak for all of them when I say he will be dearly missed.”

The Pennsylvania-born Hatch worked his way through Brigham Young University (BYU) before serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ohio and Indiana, according to the release.  He went on to graduate BYU and later obtain a law degree on full scholarship from the University of Pittsburgh Law School in 1962.

Hatch moved to Utah in 1969 and successfully ran for public office in 1976, the release continued.

Some of the most well-known pieces of legislation he authored or coauthored include the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Former President Ronald Reagan nicknamed Hatch, “Mr. Balanced Budget” due to his reputation for fiscal responsibility. (RELATED: Hatch Receives Medal Of Freedom From Trump).

Hatch is survived by his wife Elaine and six children, according to the New York Post.