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OTHER ITA SITES:
Leadership And Overcoming Adversity: US Senator Orrin Hatch Story
This groundbreaking leadership research by has received extensive endorsements and enthusiastic reviews from well-known prominent business, political, and academic leaders who either participated in the study or reviewed the research findings. You will discover the proven success habits and secrets of people who, in spite of difficult or life threatening challenges shaped their own destiny to become successful, effective leaders. The full results of this research will be presented in the upcoming book by Dr. Howard Edward Haller titled “Leadership: View from the Shoulders of Giants.”
The nine initial prominent successful leaders who overcame adversity that were interviewed included: Dr. Tony Bonanzino, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, Monzer Hourani, U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, Dr. John Malone, Larry Pino, U.S. Army Major General Sid Shachnow, Dr. Blenda Wilson, and Zig Ziglar.
The data from the above nine research participants was materially augmented by seven other successful leaders who overcame adversity including: Jack Canfield, William Draper III, Mark Victor Hansen, J. Terrence Lanni, Angelo Mozilo, Dr. Nido Qubein, and Dr. John Sperling.
Additionally, five internationally known and respected leadership scholars offered their reviews of the leadership research findings including: Dr. Ken Blanchard, Jim Kouzes, Dr. John Kotter, Dr. Paul Stoltz, and Dr. Meg Wheatley.
This is a short biography of one of the principal participants who generously contributed their time and insight for this important research into the phenomenon of how prominent successful leaders overcome adversity and obstacles. This Senator Orrin Hatch’s story:
Orrin Hatch is the surviving son of a lower middle-class Mormon pioneer family from Utah. During the Depression, his family, though penniless, moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Orrin’s older brother was killed in Europe while serving in the Army Air Corps in World War II. Orrin noted, “I was always someone who was kind of strange to them, in that sense, but they still liked me, because I was a good student, and a good athlete. But there were things I just wouldn’t do.”
Orrin and his family belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as “Mormons,” which was a relative rarity in Pittsburgh at that time. “I had to prove myself, always being kind of a ‘square.’ I had to set certain things aside, because of my religious beliefs. I never drank, I never smoked, I never caroused, [and] I never committed sexual sin.”
Orrin said, “My parents scraped together a little money, bought a wooded acre of land, and then purchased secondhand materials, including partially burned lumber . . . and built their home, board by board with their own two hands.” His father was a “union-card carrying” wood lather. Orrin learned his father’s trade and worked as a wood lather while still in high school.
Later, Orrin worked his way “through Brigham Young University as a janitor.” He interrupted his education at BYU to serve a two-year unpaid mission for the Mormon Church. He then returned to BYU, got married, graduated, and returned to Pittsburgh to work at his union construction job. He got a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh, College of Law, and worked his way through law school while providing for his growing family. When Orrin was in law school, he said that he and his “wife and children literally lived in a converted chicken coop” behind his parents’ home.
Hatch and his young family returned to his parents’ home state of Utah so that Orrin could accept a corporate legal position. Shortly after arriving in Utah, Orrin left that corporate job and opened a law firm in Salt Lake City, Utah, as the senior partner.
Although he had absolutely no political experience, Hatch decided to pursue the Republican Party nomination for the United States Senate race in 1976. He was up against an experienced Republican politician. Hatch won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator.
Now the difficult part began, as he “ran a campaign against a well-entrenched Democratic incumbent, U.S. Senator Moss.” Senator Hatch shared with me that his “confidence was not improved” by the fact that in 1976, “Moss was a three-time incumbent who could not be beaten. U.S. News and World Report that year had said that Senator Moss’ seat was the ‘most safe’ seat in the Senate.” But Orrin won the battle against the incumbent Senator, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976. Senator Hatch has since been re-elected by his adopted state of Utah four times.
It is customary for new U.S. Senators not to speak out in their freshman terms, but Senator Hatch did not follow that custom. In his first term in the U.S. Senate he led a filibuster to defeat a major labor bill that was heavily backed by the Democrats.
The proposed labor bill, before the U.S. Congress, was critical to the union movement of the late 1970s. “Union membership was starting to decline, and this bill would have legislatively forced more union membership.” Hatch was very concerned about what some had referred to as the most important labor union bill in four decades. The bill was strongly supported by George Meany, head of the AFL-CIO, and was supported by President Jimmy Carter, as well.
Hatch took on the defeat of this bill as his own “personal cause.” He said, “I strongly felt that the proposed labor bill was not in the best interest of the country and would be very detrimental to the U.S. economy, which was already starting to see high inflation entering the picture in the late 1970s.” Hatch added, “I believed that if this labor bill passed that millions of workers could be forced to join unions and inflation would skyrocket.”
Since 1976, Orrin has been a key member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. He has served on that Committee during his entire tenure in the United States Senate. Senator Hatch and his wife Elaine live in Vienna, Virginia, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Hatches are active in their Mormon faith; they are happily married with several children and many grandchildren. Orrin, a returned Mormon missionary, also served as a Bishop in the Mormon Church before being elected to the U.S. Senate. His insightful and informative biography, Square Peg: Confessions of a Citizen Senator (2002), provides a unique inside perspective of Capitol Hill.
Copyright 2006 © Howard Edward Haller, Ph.D.
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