08/08/2011 16:12 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mark Hatfield, a longtime colleague and friend, whose sincerity and strength of character should serve as a model for all Americans. As I said on the Senate Floor in 1995 after he announced that he was retiring: “For five terms, Senator Hatfield has elevated the caliber of this Chamber's debate, frequently taking lonely stands in the process. Voting one's conscience often requires courage. Senator Hatfield has never wavered in his devotion to what he believes is just, and he has always done right by the good people of Oregon.”
Quite frankly, Mark Hatfield was one of the greatest crusaders for peace in the Senate’s history. He was a devout pacifist since the beginning of his political career, opposed President Johnson's Vietnam policy, and more than 20 years later was one of only two Republicans to vote against United States military involvement in the Persian Gulf. He opposed nuclear testing and an extensive military buildup, and authored the 1992 nuclear test ban law. He was also the sole Republican to vote against the balanced budget amendment, and he would have paid dearly for that stand had the concept of respect for one's conscience not prevailed. Until his retirement, Oregonians continually returned their Senator to office not only because of his righteousness, but also because of his commitment to them and their values
He was widely respected for his independence and well-liked for his loyal friendship. He will be sorely missed.