Mark Odom Hatfield


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(b. Dallas, Oregon, 22 July 1922)

US; Governor of Oregon 1959–67; US Senator 1966–96 Mark Hatfield was educated at Willamette University and Stanford University. After naval service in the Second World War, he became a professor of political science and administrator at Willamette University. He was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives serving there until 1955 when he became a member of the Oregon Senate. He was Secretary of State for Oregon from 1957 to 1959 and Governor from 1958 to 1966.

Hatfield secured election to the US Senate in 1966 and was re-elected in 1972, 1978, 1984, and 1990.

In the Senate Hatfield adopted consistently liberal and dovish positions on foreign policy issues, reflecting the distinctive tradition of the state, though increasingly out of line with the Republican Party as a whole. He opposed the Vietnam War, voted against the Gulf War resolution in 1991, and regularly opposed enhanced defence spending and nuclear weapons.

Hatfield was chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations from 1981 to 1986 and again from 1995 to 1996. In that role he stood out against the Balanced Budget Amendment, which he saw as a threat to the committee's autonomy.

Despite Hatfield's strong religious commitment, he has been tainted by political scandal and was formally censured by the Senate Ethics Committee in 1992 for failure to report gifts. His independent stance and long service in the Senate enabled him to survive. He retired from the Senate in 1996.

Subjects: Politics.

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