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|Hail to the Chief?|
|Persons of interest|
Orrin Hatch (1934–) is the senior United States senator for Utah, the longest-serving Republican senator (40 years as of 2017) and president pro tempore of the US Senate since 2015. This means that as of 2017, he will become POTUS if Trump and Pence and Ryan are simultaneously given the boot. He is also evidence that it is still possible for bipartisanship to exist in American politics despite his general conservatism; he was particularly noted for his close friendship with "liberal lion" Ted Kennedy before the latter's death in 2009.
Utahn of the Year
In 2017, Hatch was given the dishonor of being the "Utahn of the Year" by the Salt Lake Tribune. He earned for the dishonor for:
Hatch was dimwitted enough to say that he was grateful for the "honor". Apparently he hadn't read the editorial that explained the "honor", just like he hadn't read the tax bill that he supported.
In the 2016 presidential election, he first endorsed Jeb! for president. Unfortunately, Jeb! dropped out and Hatch changed his endorsement to Marco Rubio. He also dropped out. Finally Hatch settled on Donald Trump and appears to have maintained his support through part of the Unite the Right controversy, though he later criticized Trump for his comment about violence on "both sides."
Hatch is somewhat hawkish on intelligence issues, having been instrumental in the passage of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Additionally, he supported the 2008 FISA amendments that increased the reach of the government's ability to conduct surveillance measures that would otherwise have been considered illegal.
In 1977, Hatch made the egregious comment that he "wouldn't want to see homosexuals teaching school any more than [he'd] want to see members of the American Nazi Party teaching school." He did, however, rescind this statement, at the very least. He also supported a judge who later ended up overturning the Utah law against same-sex marriage. In 2013, he said that gay marriage undermined the "very basis of marital law," but would support civil unions for gay couples. He also voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that gave additional workplace protections to LGBT people. Overall, he's not amazingly supportive of LGBT rights, but he's not the absolute worst you could do in terms of Republican politicians. He may be getting a bit better, though, as can be seen in his statements in July 2017 regarding the Trump administration's attempted ban on trans people serving in the military.
His record is somewhat mixed on immigration. On one hand, he supports tighter controls on the southern border of the US and has pushed some more conservative immigration bills, but he is also a proponent of the DREAM Act, which tries to help the children of illegal immigrants obtain a good education. He also criticized President Trump's ban on Muslims.
In June 2018, he and other Utah politicians made statements opposing the Trump administration's practice of separating children from their families.
Hatch is in large part responsible for the current state of affairs in the US dietary supplement industry. In response to a lobbying and PR onslaught, Senators Hatch and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) cosponsored the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in 1994. At the time, Utah was a major producer of nutritional supplements, eventually reportedly becoming the number 1 industry in Utah by 2012.
In 1976, when Hatch first ran for Senate, he criticized his Democratic opponent Frank Moss, the incumbent three-term senator: "What do you call a Senator who's served in office for 18 years? You call him home." However, he himself would serve seven terms, and was even considering an eighth term, but in the end decided not to.
- Sen. Orrin Hatch: Romney will 'have my support' if he runs for Senate CNN
- Tribune Editorial: Why Orrin Hatch is Utahn of the Year (December 26, 2017) Salt Lake Tribune.
- Grateful for this great Christmas honor from the Salt Lake Tribune. For the record, I voted for @SpencerJCox and @rudygobert27. #utpol by Orrin Hatch (11:25 AM - 25 Dec 2017) Twitter (archived from 27 Dec 2017 08:09:24 UTC).
- Dietary supplements become Utah’s #1 industry, topping $7.2 billion by Stephen Daniells (23-May-2012 Last updated on 23-May-2012 at 17:18 GMT) Nutra ingredients-USA (Archive.org, 2015)