Obituary /

Former Oklahoma Senator Dies at 89

Jim Inhofe retired in 2023 before the end of his term

Former Oklahoma Senator Dies at 89

A longtime Republican Senator from Oklahoma died just over a year after his early resignation.

Jim Inhofe passed away after suffering a stroke at the age of 89.

Inhofe served as the mayor of Tulsa from 1978 to 1984 and in the United States House of Representatives from 1997 to 1994. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994 during a special election and won his first full term in 1996. The Republican was reelected four times between 2012 and 2020. Over the course of his career, he won 48 of the 51 races he ran.

Ultimately, Inhofe announced in February of 2022 that he would resign.

The senator, who was born James Mountain Inhofe, said he was “absolutely” at peace with his decision to retire and that he and his wife, Kay, felt they needed to have “time together.”

“There has to be one day where you say, 'All right, this is going to be it,'” he said of his decision to leave Congress before the end of his final term. 

He formally resigned on Jan. 3, 2023 at the age of 88. Inhofe was the longest-serving senator in Oklahoma history.

“I had the privilege of serving with many great titans for a fairly long period of time, some people may have thought too long, and I’ve had the privilege of serving with people I know very well,” he said in his farewell speech, per KOCO.

During his time in the Senate, Inhofe earned a reputation as a particularly conservative representative and a critic of progressive environmental policy. He was a member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Committee on Armed Services.

According to The New York Post:

Inhofe called the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a “Gestapo bureaucracy,” fought Democratic efforts to cap greenhouse gas emissions, calling it “hysteria,” and sought tax incentives for domestic oil and gas production.

In 2015, Inhofe tossed a snowball on the Senate floor to demonstrate that the planet was not warming. Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse then spoke on the Senate floor, referring to scientific evidence of global climate change obtained by the U.S. space agency and others.

Inhofe authored the book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, which was published in 2012.

In addition to his political career, Inhofe was an Army veteran and avid pilot.

Republicans are mourning Inhofe’s passing.

“Senator Jim Inhofe was a dear friend and mentor, a titan in Oklahoma, and a highly effective leader in DC,” said Congressman Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) in a statement. “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,” he said.

“Senator Inhofe was a resolute Republican who served his state and nation for nearly six decades in various roles,” said Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat (R-Okla.), per KTUL. “Unwavering in his beliefs and conservative values, he championed many causes during his career, including his support for the military, national defense and infrastructure. His dedication and influence in shaping policies in both Oklahoma and on a national level have left a lasting impact.”

*For corrections please email [email protected]*