SUU to Welcome Utah Senior Senator Orrin Hatch

Published: April 15, 2009 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Southern Utah University and its Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics in Society will welcome Utah Senator Orrin G. Hatch Thursday, April 16, at 2 p.m. in the Theater of the Sharwan Smith Student Center on campus. The event is free and open to the public. 

The event will focus on Hatch's sponsorship of the "Serve America Act," later amended by the United States Senate to the "Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act" to honor Hatch's co-sponsor of the bill, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts). 

Hatch said, "I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the student body of Southern Utah University this week. One of my favorite things to do as a United States Senator is to meet with students to exchange ideas and to listen to and learn from them. I am certain my visit at SUU will be time well spent.” 
The legislation to be discussed will expand the number of national service participants to 250,000 - 175,000 more than can be currently funded. 

Themes of the bill include expanding opportunities for people to serve at every stage of life and to use service to meet specific national challenges like natural disaster preparedness and response, high school dropout prevention, energy conservation and environmental stewardship, and health care and more job access for people with low-incomes. It includes the creation of a reserve corps of national service alumni who can be mobilized in the wake of a natural disaster. 

The act also provides specific opportunities to serve for students, working adults, retirees, and “Americans of all ages.” A new benefit for older participants would be an education award transferable to grandchildren. Currently AmeriCorps members must use their Eli Segal Education Award on their own tuition or student loans. 

The bill supports social entrepreneurship through establishing a commission to look at cross-sector solutions to social problems, and to apply effective business practices in the nonprofit sector by establishing venture capital funds to increase its talent pool and efficacy. 

Doug Larson, the Executive Director of the Leavitt Center, said, "I am thrilled that Sen. Hatch will come to SUU to speak about the Serve America Act. This may be a great opportunity for our students to go out and serve America's communities, and at the same time, pay back their school loans. This is real legislation that benefits our students, and I hope our students will find out about it.”

The fifth most senior member of the United States Senate, Hatch was first elected by the people of Utah in 1976. As a statesman, Hatch is perhaps best known for his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee, a position in which he served from 1995 to 2001 and again from 2003 to 2005. Still the senior Republican on the committee, Hatch has participated in the confirmation hearings of eight of the nine current Supreme Court justices and countless federal judges. 

Hatch has also been chairman of the Labor and Human Resources Committee (now called the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee), serving from 1981-1987. Among his many accomplishments on this committee, Hatch has helped create the modern industries of generic drugs and nutritional supplements. 

Hatch is married to Elaine Hansen Hatch. They have six children and a growing brood of grand- and great-grandchildren, sometimes called “Hatchlings.”

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