Jim Inhofe, Longtime Oklahoma Senator, Dies at 89

Climate Change Skeptic and Longest-Serving Oklahoma Senator Passes Away.

Former Senator Jim Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican known for his staunch skepticism of climate change, has died at the age of 89. Inhofe passed away on Tuesday, July 9, following a stroke. His death was confirmed by Andrew Wheeler, former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator and a past Inhofe staffer.

“Former Sen Jim Inhofe passed away this morning. He was a devout Christian and family man. He was also devoted to his former staff who he considered his extended family,” Wheeler wrote on X.

Inhofe made headlines in 2015 when he famously brought a snowball onto the Senate floor to argue against the notion of global warming. During his February 2015 speech, Inhofe said, “In case we have forgotten, because we keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmest year on record, I ask the chair, you know what this is?” He then produced a snowball and declared, “It’s a snowball. From outside here. So it’s very, very cold out.”

As the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Inhofe was a vocal critic of stringent environmental regulations. His stance on climate change and environmental policy influenced many of his staffers, who later played significant roles in shaping policies during the Trump administration’s EPA.

Despite his conservative views, Inhofe maintained a friendly relationship with former California Senator Barbara Boxer, a liberal Democrat. Together, they collaborated on major infrastructure bills, demonstrating his ability to work across the aisle.

Inhofe holds the record as the longest-serving senator from Oklahoma, with a tenure spanning from 1994 to 2023. Before his Senate career, he served as a congressman from Oklahoma (1987-1994), mayor of Tulsa for six years, and a member of both the state House and Senate.

Inhofe’s career began with a stint in the Army in his 20s, where he served for about a year after being drafted. His long and varied career in public service left a lasting impact on Oklahoma and national politics.

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