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Letter: A promise

Four years ago, Orrin Hatch promised Utah voters on several occasions that if we would send him to the U. S. Senate for a 7th term, it would be his last. I like Orrin. I was a young senate staffer when he was first elected in 1976. I was his and his wife’s home teacher in our LDS congregation in Northern Virginia. I have sat in Sunday school classes and heard him teach the gospel.

And so I am particularly saddened to hear that he has begun “walking back” his promise not to seek another term. He says “things have changed,” that he now has far too much power to step aside.

Situational ethics has become an unfortunate staple in politics, and some of Orrin’s long-time senate colleagues, and some Utahns, are urging him to break his word and run again.

Of course, none of us is perfect. But I believe we should hold those who seek the public trust to a higher standard of integrity. Orrin Hatch has done a lot of good for Utah and the country, but he is either a man of his word or he isn’t. Instead of campaigning for reelection, he should focus on another promise he made in 2012 — passing real tax reform as chairman of the finance committee. His party will have control of both houses of Congress and the White House. Singular focus from Senator Hatch should enable him to keep his promises and retire with and an even stronger legacy. If not, his word won’t matter much.

Don Olsen