What’s Up Doc?: Washington’s Most Conservative Congressman Bids Farewell

Richard “Doc” Hastings has had enough. “This will be my final term in office and I will not run for reelection in November,” the 73-year-old Republican, who represents a large part of Central Washington, said in a statement today.

First elected to Congress in 1994 – the year Newt Gingrich seized control with his co-called “Contract With America”– to represent the state’s 4th District, Hastings beat one-term Democratic congressman Jay Inslee. Hastings said family considerations were a key reason in his decision to retire.

“She (his wife Claire) and I both look forward with anticipation to the time we will have together and with our family after my term ends in January,” he said.

The former Pasco businessman said he is “humbled to have been given the privilege of serving as their common sense voice” in Congress. Time has come, Hastings added, to fine a “new person with new energy” to fill his seat.

The 4th District, which extends from the Columbia River to the Canadian border, is the state’s most Republican political turf.

Hastings was a product of the “Reagan revolution,” notes Seattle P-I political columnist Joel Connelly.

“He entered politics as Franklin County Republican chairman, was a Ronald Reagan delegate to the 1976 GOP convention — where President Gerald Ford’s narrow victory over the Gipper signaled the demise of moderate Republicanism.”

Hasting carved out a reputation has being anything but a stalwart enviromentalist. In fact, as Connelly observeds “ Hastings has been the least ‘green’ congressman to represent Washington in years. He has a lifetime average score of 3 (out of 100) in the League of Conservation Voters’ scorecard on environment votes in the House.”

 
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