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Former Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch dead at 88

Former Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, the longest-serving senator in Utah’s history, died on Saturday, his foundation said. He was 88.

Hatch was surrounded by family in Salt Lake City when he passed at around 5:30 p.m., according to the Hatch Foundation.

“Senator Orrin G. Hatch personified the American Dream,” said Matt Sandgren, executive director of the foundation.

Hatch served in the Senate for 42 years.
Drake Busath

“Born the son of a carpenter and plaster lather, he overcame the poverty of his youth to become a United States senator. With the hardships of his upbringing always fresh in his mind, he made it his life’s mission to expand freedom and opportunity for others—and the results speak for themselves.

“From tax and trade to religious liberty and healthcare, few legislators have had a greater impact on American life than Orrin Hatch.”

Hatch was the former president pro tempore of the Senate, the second most powerful position in the chamber.

He worked with Massachusetts Democrat Ted Kennedy to pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 1997. Hatch also worked with Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin to pass the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990.

Senator Chuck Grassley, his former colleague from Iowa, remembered Hatch with a post on Twitter.

“Sad to learn of the passing of my friend Orrin Hatch. I worked closely w Senator Hatch for 40yrs on the [judiciary committee] +20 yrs on Finance cmte we had a very good friendship he has contributed so much to public policy & for the ppl of Utah,” Grassley wrote. “Barbara & I send our sympathies to his family.”

Hatch leaves behind a wife and six children. He served in the Senate for 42 years, retiring in 2019.

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