ST. GEORGE – Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Tuesday he will be retiring from the Senate at the end of his current term. The announcement ushers the end to 40 years in office, as well as an end to speculation as to the Senate’s long-serving Republican would run for re-election or not.
In the announcement sent over email and social media, the 83-year-old Hatch said he’s always been a good fighter, and was even an amateur boxer in his youth, and he brought that fighting spirit to Washington, D.C.
“But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves,” Hatch said. “And for me, that time is soon approaching.”
The decision to retire comes “after much prayer and discussion with family and friends,” Hatch said, adding he will miss his time in the Senate, but looks forward to spending time with family.
“I’m deeply grateful for the privilege you’ve given me to serve as your senator these last four decades,” Hatch said. “I may be leaving the Senate, but the next chapter in my public service is just beginning. Thank you for all your support through these many years. May God bless you all.”
With over 40 years in the Senate behind him, Hatch listed what he considers to be some of the major achievements of his time in Washington, D.C.
Of his most recent achievements is being the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and pushing through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which resulted in an overhaul of the nation’s tax code. According to Hatch’s office, the tax reform “dramatically reduces the tax burden on America’s families and businesses.”
Other legislation in which Hatch said he played a central role are the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Hatch has also been involved in the confirmations of each Supreme Court Justice over the last 40 years.
The senator also touted his having written more legislation that became actual law than any member of Congress alive today.
Hatch was elected to the Senate in 1976 and has served for seven terms. During his 2012 campaign he said it was be his last run for office, yet noted he has had people urging him to run for office again. Among those has been President Donald Trump who issued issued the following statement via social media:
Congratulations to Senator Orrin Hatch on an absolutely incredible career. He has been a tremendous supporter, and I will never forget the (beyond kind) statements he has made about me as President. He is my friend and he will be greatly missed in the U.S. Senate!
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been named as someone Hatch wouldn’t mind seeing succeed him, but Romney himself has been very low-key on the matter and hasn’t said much about it.
Like many others, Romney issued a statement regarding Hatch’s pending retirement and thanked him for his long years of service.
I join the people of Utah in thanking my friend, Senator Orrin Hatch for his more than forty years of service to our great state and nation. As Chairman of the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees and as the longest-serving Republican Senator in U.S. history, Senator Hatch has represented the interests of Utah with distinction and honor. Ann and I wish Senator Orrin Hatch and his loving wife Elaine all the best in their future endeavors.
Of those who have put their hats in to run for the retiring Hatch seat is Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson who will be running on the Democratic ticket.
While Wilson said she didn’t agree with Hatch’s approach to the issues, she nonetheless thanked him for his service.
I know this has been a difficult decision for Senator Hatch,” said Wilson. “I believe this is the right decision for Utah and look forward to a vigorous campaign ahead as candidates enter the race.”
While I have disagreed with his approach, especially recently, I appreciate the years of service Sen. Hatch has given to Utah.
For Washington to work again, we need a new generation of leaders. Leaders who have worked in and understand our communities. That’s what I represent.
I’m eager for this debate over contrasting visions for Utah and our country. It’s time the red carpet is rolled out for every day Utahns, not just corporations and special interests,” Wilson said. “This U.S. Senate seat belongs to the people of Utah.
Additional responses to Hatch’s announcement follow below:
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert
Few have been as dedicated to serving the people of Utah as our good Senator, Orrin Hatch. For seven terms, he has represented the people of Utah with strength and dignity. We are grateful for his hard work and for his untiring effort on behalf of our state. I wish him the best.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
Sen. Hatch has been a tremendous servant to the people of Utah and he will be sorely missed. It has truly been an honor serving with him in the United States Senate and I know he will continue to do fantastic work for Utahns.
Rep. Mia Love, Utah’s 4th Congressional District
Senator Orrin Hatch has served with great distinction in the United States Senate. If any public official deserves to leave office with the heartfelt gratitude of both a state and a nation, it is Senator Hatch. Personally, I will miss his leadership, his guidance and the wonderful friendship he has given me. No Senator has accomplished more during his time in office than Senator Hatch, and our state and nation are better for it. I want to wish both he and Elaine the very best in their next great adventure.
Rep Chris Stewart, Utah’s 2nd Congressional District
Thank you Senator Hatch for your many years of sacrifice and service. Thanks to your family as well. Utah and the nation will miss you!
Rep. John Curtis, Utah’s 3rd Congressional District
I am grateful that we have had such a statesman on the frontlines fighting for us for the past four decades. @senorrinhatch has been a great friend and mentor to me. We still have a lot left to accomplish together this year but I will certainly miss his presence in the Senate.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
Utah and the entire Senate is losing an incredible fighter in @OrrinHatch. I came to know Orrin well last year and proudly call him a friend.
Evan McMullin, former 2016 presidential candidate
Thank you for your service to our state and country, Senator Hatch.
In this seat, we must have a leader prepared to meet the challenges of our day and our future. I hope that leader will be @MittRomney.
Daisy Thomas, chair of the Utah Democratic Party
We thank Senator Orrin Hatch for his years of service. For some time, Hatch was a senator of compromise, willing to make hard decisions. While he has strayed from that path over the past few years, we believe that service should be recognized.
We thank him for his role in uniting Utahns against the Trump administration. Whether it was his inaction on CHIP, his support of the destruction of our national monuments, or his troubling defense of Roy Moore, we thank him. Now more than ever, we know where he stands and the Utah Republican Party stands, and it is not with Utah.
We look forward to the 2018 elections. The Trump administration and outside agencies have a keen interest in this election. We believe that this Senate seat belongs to the people of Utah – not to Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, or their wealthy friends.
We look forward to seeing Governor Romney of Massachusetts on the campaign trail.
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