Former Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe dies at age 89 after a stroke

Inhofe was Oklahoma’s longest serving senator, serving for 28 years before he retired

Ariana Baio
Tuesday 09 July 2024 20:58
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Former Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican who represented Oklahoma, died on July 9 at 89 years old
Former Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican who represented Oklahoma, died on July 9 at 89 years old (Getty Images)

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Former Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican career politician and climate change denier, died on Tuesday at 89 years old, his family said in a statement.

For more than three decades, Inhofe represented Oklahoma in the United States Congress. First elected to the House in 1986 and then to the Senate in 1994, Inhofe was Oklahoma’s longest-serving senator.

His political career was defined by his commitment to military aid packages and defiance against climate change.

His family told The Associated Press he died on Tuesday morning after suffering a stroke over the Fourth of July holiday.

Senator Jim Inhofe participates in a mock swearing-in for the 117th Congress with Vice President Mike Pence, as his wife Kay Inhofe holds a bible, in the Old Senate Chambers at the U.S. Capitol Building January 3, 2021 in Washington, DC
Senator Jim Inhofe participates in a mock swearing-in for the 117th Congress with Vice President Mike Pence, as his wife Kay Inhofe holds a bible, in the Old Senate Chambers at the U.S. Capitol Building January 3, 2021 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

Inhofe’s political career spanned nearly 60 years, beginning in 1966 when he was elected to the Oklahoma State House of Representatives. He became a member of the Oklahoma State Senate in 1969 and mayor of Tusla in 1978 until he was elected to Congress.

He was passionate about the military, having been drafted into the US Army for one year during the Vietnam War.

During his time in the Senate, Inhofe served as chair of the Armed Services Committee and Environment and Public Works Committee.

But he will be perhaps most well-remembered for the position he took on climate change in the later part of his career in which he defiantly railed against claims that human activity contributed to global warming. Inhofe frequently proliferated anti-climate change rhetoric, believing it to be, “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

He made headlines in February 2015 when he threw a snowball on the Senate floor to make a point about global warming.

Though Inhofe was an ally of Donald Trump and voted against impeachment, he broke with his party to vote to certify the 2020 election results.

Inhofe retired from the Senate in 2022.

“Jim was a Mountain of a Senator, and his decades of service left America more prosperous and secure,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “Today, the entire Senate’s sympathies and prayers are with Jim’s beloved wife, Kay, and their children and grandchildren.”

James “Jim” Mountain Inhofe was born on November 17, 1934, he died on July 9, 2024.

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