He's been a constant part of Congress for two decades, in the House of Representatives.

You wouldn't know he's 73 these days because he never seems to slow down, but Hastings Thursday announced he is retiring from Congress at the end of 2014.    Hastings has served on or chaired some of the MOST powerful committees in Congress, including:

  • National Security Committee
  • House Natural Resources Committee
  • House Rules Committee
  • House Budget and Ethics Committees
  • Chairman and other significant roles

It's rather ironic that after a stellar rise from Franklin County Republican Party Chairman, Hastings was elected to Congress in 1994 for the first time when he crushed incumbent Jay Inslee for the Fourth Congressional District seat.   That was part of the famous Newt Gingrich House takeover by the GOP during the Clinton Administration.  Of course, Inslee is now the Governor of WA.  Inslee would later move to the West side of the state and resurface as one of the most liberal Democrats in recent memory.

Hastings said he was humbled by the faith and support given to him during his term in Congress by voters,  and his family played a big role in his decision.   Now a grandfather, Hastings cited the support of his wife Claire, for whom he said the hardest part of her week was him catching a plane to Washington D.C. to go to work in Congress.

Hastings will be missed greatly in D.C. as one of the steadiest, most influential leaders, who was able to look out strongly for the interests of his district.

You may recall recently Hastings pressure stopped the Washington State Department of Wildlife and Ecology Department from stripping thousands of acres away from Franklin County farmers over the controversial bladderpod plant issue.   The government was going to set aside an "eco-zone" for the allegedly endangered plant without telling the farmers!  When Hastings and his staff got wind of it,  he issued some of his strongest language and actions ever in stopping it from happening.

His shoes will be HUGE ones to fill for the GOP.  So dominant was his support in Washington state that he rarely got less than 60% of the votes when it came time for re-election.   So popular was Hastings that some political experts joked he could have run against the Pope and still won!

His term will end December 31st, 2014.