Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Oregon Republican League: History 104 Biographies

Every Wednesday, the Oregon Republican League will post the biographies of important figures, in the League's/State of Oregon's history. Feel free to comment or share stories of your family's Republican affiliation.

Governor Mark O. Hatfield
Biographical Note

Mark O. Hatfield was governor of the State of Oregon from January 12, 1959 to January 9, 1967.

Hatfield was born in Dallas, Oregon, on July 12. 1922, to Charles Dolen and Dovie Odem Hatfield. He graduated 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 formed his view against nuclear war and nuclear weapons. After World War II he was assigned to French Indochina (Vietnam). This experience shaped his views about imperalism and colonialism and his strong stand against the Vietnam War.

Hatfield taught political science and was dean of students at Willamette University, Salem, Oregon from 1949 to 1956.

Hatfield began his political career in the Oregon legislature in 1951. He served in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1951-1955 and in the Oregon Senate from 1955-1957. He became the youngest Secretary of State in Oregon history in 1957, and held that office for two years, until he was elected governor in 1958.

Hatfield, a Republican, defeated Democrat incumbent Robert D. Holmes. 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 served as U.S. Senator from Oregon from 1967 to 1996. 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 US arms sales. Senator Hatfield served as chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

Hatfield married Antoinette Kuzmanich on July 8, 1958 and has four children.

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