Person 2 Person: Senator Orrin Hatch

    (KUTV) Senator Orrin Hatch{}is currently serving his seventh term as Utah’s senator and is the most-senior Republican in the Senate. Following the November 2014 elections, Senator Hatch was named as President pro tempore-designate and will assume the role of leading the Senate at the beginning of 2015. Prior to running for Senate in 1977, Senator Hatch was an attorney. However his journey to law school and ending up in Washington, D.C. was unique considering his upbringing. Growing up Senator Hatch says his family had very little. He mentions that the first time he had a pair of shoes that fit was after law school when he finally became an attorney. In this week’s Person 2 Person, Senator Orrin Hatch talks with Shauna Lake about his childhood and path that eventually led him to his current role in Washington, D.C.

    Below is a transcript of Shauna Lake’s interview with Senator Orrin Hatch:


    SEN. ORRIN HATCH: We were so poor. My first job was as aI took care of our chickens. We had a chicken coop which later became Elaine and my cottage when I went to law school. We converted the chicken coop into a two roomit was terrible, but weit’s all we could afford. But I was, at about six years of age I would raise the chickens, feed the chickens, clean the stables, pick up the eggs, sell the eggs, deliver the eggs. I did all of that from six until sixteen.

    SHAUNA LAKE: What did your parents teach you?

    SEN. ORRIN HATCH: They taught me honesty and of course my mother used to always caution me you know if I made a mistake she’d say, “Now Orry” she would call me Orry.

    SHAUNA LAKE: Orry that’s cute.

    SEN. ORRIN HATCH: “Orry you should have never have done that and I never wanted to displease my mother. I didn’t want to displease my dad either. He was a strong man, but he was a tough guy there’s no question.

    SHAUNA LAKE: You didn’t mess with him.

    SEN. ORRIN HATCH: No you don’t mess with him. When he said you do something you do it. And I was a tough guy and I was real thin and lean, and I learned how to fight. And my first fight I got shoved all over the playground and was so embarrassed by some kid that was twice my size, but I made up my mind that nobody was ever going to do that to me again. My brother who died in the second World War, it was a real tragic loss, he had a duffel bag so I filled it with sand and old rags and everything I could get my hands on and hung it from the old Mulberry tree outside the kitchen, and I would pretend I was Rocky Graziano or Gene Fullmer. I only weighed 118 pounds when I started. I was 6’2”. I’d pretend I was them and I would hit that bag and bag for hours. And I got to where I was a really tough kid and nobody would take me on.

    SHAUNA LAKE: But why were you getting in fights?

    SEN. ORRIN HATCH: Well I didn’t ask for it. This guy came over from the local Catholic school and started shoving me all around thehe was just a bully and shoved me all over the place and I wasI was terrified. He was so much bigger than I was, and I was only in fifth grade, but I made up my mind that would never happen again and it never did.

    SHAUNA LAKE: And it never did.

    SEN. ORRIN HATCH: Yeah but I had some real fights in my day.

    SHAUNA LAKE: You were kind of on the other side of the tracks. Is that fair to say?

    SEN. ORRIN HATCH: Oh yeah.

    SHAUNA LAKE: You needed to be tough.

    SEN. ORRIN HATCH: We didn’t know that. We thought we were just fine. I mean I never had a pair of shoes that fit me until I was an attorney.


    SEN. ORRIN HATCH: Yeah I think if I would have had the tennis shoes that I have now, I could have been a much better basketball player. I don’t think my friends in school noticed it. I became student body president my senior year. I was captain of the basketball team and in a number of clubs. But I was never one of the gang because I didn’t do some of the things they did.

    SHAUNA LAKE: I was wondering if that maybe was one of the reasons you decided to become an attorney because you wanted maybe to have some of those things too that you didn’t have growing up?

    SEN. ORRIN HATCH: Well I was either going to be an attorney or I was going to be a college professor. And I was amazingI didn’t even know how to apply for law school I walked in and took the LSAT, the law school entrance exam, on a Saturday without any preparation whatsoever.


    SEN. ORRIN HATCH: After I took it, it was in the cathedral of learning at the University of Pittsburgh, I thought, “Well I’ll go up to the 14th, 15th floor and apply for law school there.” So I went up there and the registrar’s door was locked. So I was standing there looking kind of mournful I guess, and a chubby person comes around the corner and says, “Hey can I help you?” And I said, “Well I don’t think so.” I said, “I wanted to apply to the law school and it looks like the registrar’s door is locked.” He said, “I can help you I’m a professor here.” He opened the door, he gave me the papers, and he said, “We want you here.” I said, “You do?” When I told him I was from Brigham Young University he said, “You’re a Mormon?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Oh my gosh.” He said, “I went to Arizona State Law School. Those Mormons were the toughest competition we had.” And I said, “Oh well that’s great you know.” And he said, “Why don’t you apply for a scholarship?” I said, “Well, I don’t think I have good enough grades to really do it.” He said, “Oh I’m on the scholarship committee.” And I said, “Well okay.” And that must have been the sloppiest scholarship application in history at the University of Pittsburgh. And two weeks later I received a full honor’s scholarship and had it all the way through law school. It was a blessing to me that I had that honors scholarship. I could have never gone to law school. I mean we had three kids and were living in a chicken coop and hardly able to get by. And at BYU I was a janitor. Ted Kennedy said to me one day, he said, when he heard I was a janitor he said, “You know Orrin you should have stuck with it.” I won’t tell you what I told him he should stick with. But he had a great sense of humor.

    SHAUNA LAKE: So nice to get to know you better Person 2 Person.

    SEN. ORRIN HATCH: Nice to see you.

    SHAUNA LAKE: Thank you so much.


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