Remembering Senator Mark O. Hatfield

Jesse Cornett

Senator Mark O. Hatfield passed away this evening after a long illness. A fixture in Oregon politics for forty years, his career has made Oregon a better place. The Willamette Week has a well done article chronicling Hatfield’s life and career.

When I was a graduate student, I had the great fortune of working as retired Senator Mark O Hatfield’s graduate assistant. While my job was largely administrative, it gave me the opportunity to interact with Senator Hatfield near weekly. I can’t say for certain that I’m the only Blue Oregon contributor to have worked for Hatfield, but I can say as a staunch Democrat he’s a Republican I’m proud to have worked for.

With positions opposing the balanced budget amendment and the Vietnam War, Hatfield rankled many within the Republican Party over the years. Before his long career in the US Senate, Hatfield also fought for civil rights, created the Oregon Commission for Women, Oregon’s community college system and so much more.

I hope the thoughts of all of us are with the Senator’s family tonight.

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    That last sentence would read better as "My thoughts are with the Senator tonight and hope yours are too."

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    Thanks, Jesse. I heard the news here first. We all owe a lot to the legacy of Mark Hatfield.

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    Truly a great man. Wish we had more like him in today's Senate.

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    He had the Winter Soldiers transcripts entered into the congressional record. He was also one of the first US service members to enter Hiroshima.

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    Grateful for the opportunity to have had Senator Hatfield as a teacher. It was a highlight of my grad program. He leaves behind an amazing legacy of leadership and dedication to service.

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    I was always inspired by Hatfield's efforts to take on the military-industrial complex.

    From the AP story:

    “Every president other than Eisenhower has been seduced by the military concept that that is our sole measurement of our national security and the more bombs we build, the more secure we are,” Hatfield said a decade later.

    “That’s just not true. We are vulnerable in our national security today, and we are vulnerable in many ways we are not addressing — the needs of education, the needs of housing, the needs of nutrition, the needs of health, the needs of infrastructure.”

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    Back when I was a G.I. ('68- almost '82), Hatfield was one of my heroes for his articulate and reasoned opposition to the war. As I learned more about him then and after my release, my admiration expanded exponentially.

    Indeed, he was one of the reasons I wanted to move to Oregon because I figured any state that could produce a Hatfield and a McCall and (to a lesser degree) a Morse, had to be a state I could love living in. It took me almost another 4 decades to do it, but it turned out to be true.

    Condolences and honor to his family.

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    Thanks, Jesse. I loved this guy. My Grandma worked for the Franks and when they would have these huge BBQs Hatfield was always there. I got to "talk politics" with him for the first time when I was twelve. He truly was a leader. Oh, for some of his courage and moral backbone now!

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