Longtime Republican Lawmaker Jim Inhofe Dies at Age 89


Former Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma died early Tuesday morning at age 89.

He had suffered a stroke on July 4 and passed away five days later, surrounded by his wife and children, Oklahoma City ABC affiliate KOCO-TV reported.

Inhofe, a staunch conservative, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994 and retired in 2023, making him the longest-serving senator in Sooner State history,

“The Republican lawmaker was a fixture in Oklahoma politics for more than 50 years. He ran for public office 51 times, winning 48 of those races,” KOCO reported.

Inhofe, a U.S. Army veteran and former insurance executive, was first elected to the Oklahoma State House of Representatives in 1967 and then the State Senate in 1969, where he served until 1977, according to The New York Times.

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He then was elected three times to be mayor of Tulsa before winning a U.S. House seat in 1986.

While in the U.S. Senate, Inhofe served as chairman or as Republican ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for many years.

Following the death of Sen. John McCain of Arizona in 2018, Inhofe became chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Inhofe was an ally to former President Donald Trump, who nominated two people the senator backed to be Environmental Protection Agency administrators, first Scott Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general, and then Pruitt’s deputy Andrew Wheeler, who had served as Inhofe’s chief of staff, the Times reported.

Inhofe did not believe in man-made climate change and in fact wrote a book about it in 2012 titled, “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.”

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“God’s still up there,” he said regarding climate change, and the “arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

Inhofe was an avid pilot and would campaign across Oklahoma flying himself to events.

“In 1991, he and three other pilots flew a Cessna around the world in 18 days to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Wiley Post’s solo circumnavigation. He also claimed 11,000 hours of flying time,” according to the Times.

In his senate farewell speech in November 2022, Inhofe said, “I had the privilege of serving with many great titans for a fairly long period of time — some people thought maybe too long — and I had the privilege of serving with the people that I’ve known very well.”

He shared that one of his rewarding experiences while in the senate was a weekly Christian meeting he would attend with fellow lawmakers originally organized during the Eisenhower administration by evangelist Douglas Coe, who died in 2017.

“It’s scripturally based, Acts 2:42, we get together, eat together, pray together and fellowship together and talk about the precepts of Jesus together,” the senator said.

Inhofe closed, “Finally, I want to say to the people of Oklahoma, I really thank — what you’ve done for me all these years — thank you very much. I love you guys.”

Inhofe is survived by his wife, Kay, three children and 12 grandchildren.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith