Orrin Hatch

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Former senator Orrin Hatch, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Photograph by Music First Coalition. CC License.

Orrin Hatch was a senator for Utah and was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Born Orrin Grant Hatch on March 22, 1934, to Jesse and Helen Hatch in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Senator Hatch has a proud heritage. His great-grandfather Jeremiah Hatch founded the area of Vernal, Utah. Hatch was taught early the value of work and learned the metal lathing trade from his father.

He did well in school and attended Brigham Young University. He worked hard to pay his expenses and graduated in 1959 with a history degree. He received a full scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh Law School. By this point Hatch had already married Elaine Hansen and their family was growing. He worked hard to support his family while he attended school, working as a janitor, metal lather, and all-night desk attendant for a dormitory. Hatch graduated in 1962 with a Juris Doctorate and honors. The small family continued to grow and Elaine and Orrin eventually had six children.

Hatch then practiced law until 1976, when he was nominated by the Utah Republican Party to run for the Senate against three-term incumbent Frank E. Moss. Before this nomination, Hatch had not held any public offices, and many thought he could not beat Senator Moss, but he won the election with fifty-four percent of the vote.

Senator Hatch was the most senior Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and supported civil justice reform to get backlogged courts up and running smoothly. He was also the second-ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Finance. In this position he was a key player in the welfare reform bill, and was especially involved in child care initiatives. Senator Hatch, in his fifth term, was an essential part of FDA reform, Job Partnership Act, designation of the Mormon Trail, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and many other projects. His other duties involved serving on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; Joint Committee on Taxation; and on the Board of Directors for the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. He was nicknamed by others “Mr. Free Enterprise,” “Guardian of Small Business,” and “Mr. Constitution.”

On January 6, 2015, Senator Hatch was sworn in as President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, which put him third in line for the presidency.

Along with his political service, Senator Hatch was also known as a talented singer, composer, and lyricist. He wrote over 300 Latter-day Saint songs with singer and songwriter Janice Kapp Perry. He wrote the songs found on two CDs: "My God is Love" and "Whispers of My Heart." He also composed many patriotic songs and CDs. Senator Hatch’s music can be found on: www.hatchmusic.com.


On January 2, 2018, Hatch announced that he would not be seeking reelection at the end of his seventh term, which concluded at the end of 2018. He indicated that he felt that it was the right thing to do. According to the Deseret News, Hatch said that as Senate Finance Committee chairman, he "rammed" the tax bill through Congress, where it passed without Democratic support. "Is it perfect? No. But it's a lot better than anyone thought it would be." He was the longest-serving Republican senator in history at the time of his retirement. Also at the time of his retirement, he held the record of having passed more legislation than any other senator alive, authoring 112 bills and co-sponsoring 638 bills that have become law.[1]

"If the bill had failed, the senator said he might have run again for the office."[2] Hatch called the bill "the single most important bill in the last 30 years." Hatch was the chairman of the finance committee through 2020, or his retirement.

Hatch served as Chairman Emeritus of the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation.

Hatch passed away on April 23, 2022. He was 88 years old. At his passing, the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ released this statement:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joins with all those who are mourning the passing of Orrin G. Hatch. Throughout his life, Senator Hatch served with distinction, particularly during the 42 years he represented the State of Utah in the United States Senate. Senator Hatch’s tireless efforts on behalf of his country have benefitted countless lives and his strength in promoting religious freedom will be a blessing to all people of faith for generations to come. His service in callings he accepted in the Church, reflected his commitment to serve his fellowman. Senator Hatch leaves a commendable legacy to his family and to his nation. We express our love to Elaine and to their children and grandchildren and pray the Lord’s blessings will be upon them.[3]

Mitt Romney, who was elected to Hatch's seat in the senate, said on Twitter that Hatch was "a man of vision and unparalleled legislative accomplishment."[4]

Hatch will lie in state in the Utah Capitol rotunda in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 6, 2022, with funeral services to be held that day. He will be buried with military rites in Cache Valley. Hatch’s wife, Elaine Hansen Hatch, is from Newton, and the couple visited the town on a number of occasions. The couple has a joint burial plot at the Newton Cemetery.

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