The era of the Oregon Liberal Republican. Part Two. Senator Mark Hatfield

hatfield1Mark Hatfield, Oregon Governor and US Senator, and a great liberal Republican. Tax cutter, anti death penalty and non interventionist. He assured funding for Max Light Rail transforming our transportation infrastructure from Hillsboro to Gresham.

Excerpt from the Oregon Secretary of State’s Archives:

Hatfield was born in Dallas, Oregon, on July 12, 1922, …He went on to graduate with a B.A. from Willamette University in 1943 and an M.A. degree Stanford University in 1948.

From 1943 to 1946 Hatfield served in the United States Naval Reserve as a lieutenant junior grade. During World War II he served in the Pacific in landing craft operations. His trip into Hiroshima a month after the bomb had been dropped helped to form his views against nuclear war and nuclear weapons. After World War II he was assigned to French Indochina (Vietnam). This experience helped to shape his views about imperalism and colonialism and his later strong stand against the Vietnam War.

… …

Hatfield began his political career in the Oregon Legislature in 1951 where he served in the House of Representatives from 1951 to 1955 and in the Senate from 1955 to 1957. He became the youngest Secretary of State in Oregon history in 1957, holding that office for two years until he was elected governor in 1958. Hatfield, a Republican, defeated the Democratic incumbent Robert D. Holmes and served as Oregon governor from January 12, 1959 to January 9, 1967.

Among the major accomplishments of Hatfield’s administration were the passage of a tax cut in 1959, the establishment of a state-backed birth control system, the prohibition of capital punishment in the state, and the reapportionment of the state’s congressional districts. Hatfield was reelected in 1962, defeating Democratic challenger Robert Y. Thornton.

Hatfield held the office of U.S. Senator from Oregon from 1967 to 1996, making him the longest serving Oregon Senator in history. He consistently voted against military appropriations, voted to end the war in Vietnam, co-sponsored a nuclear freeze resolution with Senator Edward Kennedy and called for a Code of Conduct to regulate U.S. arms sales. Senator Hatfield twice served as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, a position he used to steer more than 3 billion dollars of funding for a variety of public projects in Oregon. Among the recipients were Oregon Health & Science University and the MAX light rail system in Portland. He was the second-most senior Republican Senator at the time of his retirement.

Over the years after leaving the U.S. Senate, Hatfield taught at George Fox University in Newberg and at the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. He also served on the Oregon Health & Science University board of directors for several years.

Balance between Economic Development and environment:  As Governor and Senator Hatfield promoted the tech industry growth in Oregon and higher education. He waged battles on behalf of the Timber industry to increase or sustain harvest levels, but also was instrumental in establishing the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area.

Moral issues: He was a well-known Christian evangelical who often spoke to religious groups, Hatfield was a beacon for many who believed their faith called them to oppose war and to care for those in need.

Some Hatfield Quotes

“As a Christian, there is no other part of the New Right ideology that concerns me more than its self-serving misuse of religious faith.”

“Yes, I’m of the old guard, liberal Republican.”

“Unless we have a well-educated people, we’re vulnerable on our national security.”

“Having seen war, you obviously learned to hate war.”

“The New Right, in many cases, is doing nothing less than placing a heretical claim on Christian faith that distorts, confuses, and destroys the opportunity for a biblical understanding of Jesus Christ and of his gospel for millions of people.”


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