PORTLAND, Ore (Reuters) – Former Senator Mark Hatfield, a liberal anti-war Republican from Oregon, died on Sunday at age 89.
In his 30 years in the Senate, Hatfield was one of the chamber’s most consistent voices against war and for curbing military spending, often putting him at odds with his own party.
He pushed to bring U.S. troops home from Vietnam and was one of two Republican senators to vote in 1990 against going to war with Iraq in the Gulf War.
Hatfield died in a care facility in Portland, his long-time friend and former chief of staff Gerry Frank told Reuters.
Hatfield was Oregon’s governor from 1959 to 1967 and served in the Senate until 1997. He chaired the powerful Appropriations Committee when Republicans held a majority in the Senate.
Like a number of Oregon Republicans who came out of a progressive tradition in the state, Hatfield was a moderate.
“No one has had a more profound impact on Oregon in the last half century than Mark Hatfield,” Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, said in a statement.
“Senator Hatfield’s moral compass, independence and willingness to reach across the aisle are an inspiration to me and countless Oregonians.”
In World War Two, Hatfield piloted a landing craft at Iwo Jima and was one of the first Americans to see the devastation after the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
“He had seen the carnage of war first hand. This was not an academic exercise for him,” said Greg Leo, the chief of staff for the Oregon Republican Party.
“He was a deeply religious man, a conciliator,” long-time aide Frank said.
As governor, Hatfield expanded state parks and strengthened environmental policies including pollution controls and fish conservation, and created the state’s community college system.
(Editing by Jerry Norton and Vicki Allen)
Source: Reuters US Online Report Domestic News