Orrin Hatch, longest serving Republican US senator, dies at 88

Former Utah Senator Orrin G. Hatch died on April 23, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded by his family. He was 88 years old.

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Orrin G. Hatch, a longtime Republican senator from Utah, died Saturday in Salt Lake City at the age of 88, the Hatch Foundation announced.

Hatch, who retired in 2019 at the end of his last term, served in the Senate for 42 years, making him the longest serving Republican U.S. senator.

“Senator Orrin G. Hatch personified the American dream,” Matt Sandgren, executive director of the Hatch Foundation, said in a statement. “Born the son of a carpenter and a plasterer, he overcame the poverty of his youth to become a United States Senator.”

Hatch was also the longest-serving U.S. senator in Utah’s history. He was first elected in 1976 and announced his retirement in January 2018.

He spoke about his past as an amateur boxer while making the announcement, saying in a video, “Every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves. And for me, that time is coming soon.”

Hatch was born in Homestead Park, Pennsylvania in 1934.

Raised in what he called “a ramshackle house” during the Great Depression, Hatch went on to serve as chairman of three different Senate committees and put his stamp on major pieces of legislation across the political spectrum.

Hatch graduated from Brigham Young University in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in history, and in 1969 moved to Utah.

He is survived by his wife, Elaine, and their six children. Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date, the Hatch Foundation said.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox tweeted that “Utah mourns with the Hatch family.”

“It breaks my heart. Abby and I are so grateful for the opportunities we have had to spend time with this amazing public servant. He has always been so kind and generous with his time and wisdom,” Cox wrote, a republican.

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