At a Glance
- Career History: Attorney (1962 to 1976)
- Birthday: March 22, 1934
- Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Alma Mater: Brigham Young University, B.S. 1959; University of Pittsburgh, J.D., 1962
- Spouse: Elaine
- Religion: Mormon
- Committees: Ranking member, Finance (since January 2011); Judiciary ; Aging ; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Path to Power
Hatch was raised in Pittsburgh, Pa., but his family has long had ties to the Beehive State. His great-grandfather, Jeremiah Hatch, was one of the first settlers in what is now Vernal, Utah.
Hatch first moved to Utah on a mission trip with his church, the Church of Latter Day Saints, in 1954. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1959 and then returned to Pittsburgh, where he earned a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Hatch practiced law there before moving back to Salt Lake City.
Hatch, a Mormon lay minister, is a conservative Republican, but has become more moderate over his long career in the Senate. Critics have accused Hatch of changing his positions with the political winds, saying he has sought to position himself for a cabinet or U.S. Supreme Court appointment. But Hatch says the move to the center is a reflection of his maturation as a lawmaker.
"I don't think my basic inherent philosophy has changed, but I'm a bit more sophisticated. ... The nature of the Congress is to compromise," he told the New York Times in 1990.
Hatch has good relations with senators on both sides of the aisle. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) praised Hatch for his "fundamental sense of justice." Hatch worked closely with Kennedy on many issues. The two also had a close personal friendship - Hatch has on several occasions composed songs for the Massachusetts senator. Kennedy passed away in August 2009.
Hatch endorsed former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney (R), a fellow Mormon, for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Hatch, who believed his own religion hurt his chances to win the Republican nomination in 2000, urged Romney to speak more candidly about his faith. Hatch supported Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as the Republican nominee in the general election - he even wrote a song in honor of McCain's campaign. But in 1999, he said his then-opponent's stance on campaign finance reform would "ruin the Republican Party." Hatch is a prolific fundraiser for the Republican Party.