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Longtime GOP Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe Dies at 89

Former powerhouse GOP Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) has died at 89, according to members of his family who spoke with local outlet Tulsa World.

Inhofe was a celebrated figure in the establishment Republican Party of yesteryear, serving three terms in the U.S. House before winning a Senate seat in the 1994 landslide led by Newt Gingrich and the Republicans’ Contract with America media blitz. He served nearly 30 years in that role, chairing the Armed Services and Environment Committees, the latter of which he used to forcefully deny the alleged effects of climate change and push for American energy independence.

In a statement, Oklahoma Congressman Kevin Herd (R-OK) paid tribute to his colleague of many years.

“Senator Jim Inhofe was a dear friend and mentor, a titan in Oklahoma, and a highly effective leader in DC,” said Rep. Hern according to OK’s 9 News.

“Tammy and I are keeping Kay and the rest of the Inhofe family in our prayers. Jim spent his life in service to his country, both in uniform and in the halls of Congress. He will always be remembered as a fighter, especially for our military service members. Jim’s legacy of service, leadership, and faith reflect the Oklahoma Standard and the pride he held in his work. Along with the family, friends, and many Oklahomans who knew and loved him, I mourn the loss of a great man.”

Born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1934, Inhofe was a member of the Senate’s Silent Generation caucus and was carried by his family to Illinois and later Tulsa after his elementary school burned down.

After high school, he was drafted into two years of service in the U.S. Army from 1957 to 1958. Shortly after returning home, Inhofe worked for his father’s insurance company before inheriting the business in 1970.

Sources told local outlets that Sen. Inhofe died peacefully after a brief struggle with an illness during the 4th of July holiday weekend. He is survived by his wife, Kay Inhofe, and three of their four children.

Mike Neal, the president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber also made a statement, saying, “The Tulsa Regional Chamber mourns the death of former U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, who spent his entire professional career seeking to enrich the lives of Oklahomans. As a former Tulsa mayor, Congressman, and the longest-serving U.S. senator from Oklahoma, Inhofe was the consummate public servant, unafraid to advocate for his constituents, particularly in the areas of transportation, infrastructure and the armed services.”

“We are especially grateful to the former senator for several recent wins, including full funding of the Tulsa/West Tulsa Levees, a longtime priority within the Chamber’s OneVoice Regional Legislative Agenda. He also led the effort to designate U.S. Highway 412 as an interstate, and he oversaw reforms to help address the maintenance backlog of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.”

“The breadth of Senator Inhofe’s impact on Oklahoma and the members of its business community is immeasurable. We applaud his commitment to our great state and offer our condolences to Kay and his wonderful family.”

  • Mary says:

    My sincerest condolences to the family. He was a good man.

  • tressa says:


  • See more says:

    He was a great Senator. I loved it when he brought on the big snowball and said this proves that there is no global warming. RIP

  • Verneoz says:

    Imhoff was one of the stronger conservative establishment Republicans. Although his stance on some conservative ideals mellowed or weakened at the end of his Senate tenure. Perhaps he was just tired. Overall, I’d rate him a 9 out of 10. RIP Sir.

  • PAULETTE says:

    Why didnt I see anything on the news about this? My sincerest condolences



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