Jim Inhofe, 89, dies after a long Senate career resisting climate change agenda

By 
 July 10, 2024

The longest-serving U.S. senator in Oklahoma history and a staunch opponent of the human-induced climate change agenda, former Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe, passed away on Tuesday. He was 89 at the time of his death.

Inhofe, who was also a defense hawk and advocate for federal infrastructure funding, passed away five days after suffering a stroke on July 4, according to a statement from his family reported by POLITICO. Inhofe retired from the Senate in 2023 due to ill health, with four years remaining in his term.

Time in Office

In 1994, Inhofe was elected to the Senate in a special election after serving four terms in the House.

Oklahoma, a state that had been governed by conservative Democrats for a long time, was transformed into one of the most Republican states in the nation during his tenure. Inhofe, a fervent conservative, readily embraced this development.

“Let me tell you, it wasn’t a red state then,” he said of his early days in Oklahoma politics.

Inhofe's iconic snowball incident in February 2015 on the Senate floor exemplified his rejection of climate change agenda, which was a fundamental aspect of his legacy.

Power in Congress

For a number of years, he was one of the most outspoken opponents of environmental regulation within the Republican Party.

He was also the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee during the administrations of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, which gave him a significant amount of influence on the subject.

Not only did he influence environmental policy through his use of the gavel, but he also nurtured staff members who went on to hold critical positions at the Environmental Protection Agency during Donald Trump's administration and sought to tear back Obama's regulations.

The news of his passing spread around Washington, and his former coworkers and staff members expressed their sorrow.

In addition to serving as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee for two and a half years, Senator Inhofe was honored with a portrait that was displayed outside the committee chamber on Tuesday morning.

Memories of Friends

The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Trump administration, Andrew Wheeler, stated on X that Inhofe "was a devout Christian and family man."

He was also devoted to his former staff who he considered his extended family.”

Inhofe was referred to as "a mountain of a man" in a statement by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. This statement was partially a reference to Inhofe's middle name, which is Mountain.

“Jim’s diligent stewardship of massive infrastructure projects transformed life across the Heartland,” McConnell said.

“His relentless advocacy for American energy dominance unlocked new prosperity across the country. And his laser focus on growing and modernizing the U.S. military strengthened the security of the entire free world.”

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