Richard Norman "Doc" Hastings (born February 7, 1941) is the U.S. Representative for Washington's 4th congressional district, serving since 1995. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district includes most of the central part of the state, including Yakima, Wenatchee, and the Tri-Cities.
Early life, education, and career
Richard Hastings was born in Spokane, Washington. He served in the United States Army Reserve from 1964 to 1969. He studied business administration at Columbia Basin College and Central Washington College but never finished either.
Hastings was named Columbia Basin Alumni of the Year in 2001. He returned to Central Washington as commencement speaker in 2008.
Before being elected to Congress, Hastings ran his family-owned small business, Columbia Basin Paper and Supply. He was an active member of the Pasco Chamber of Commerce, the Pasco/Kennewick Rotary Club, the Pasco Downtown Development Association, and the Pasco Jaycees. He also served on the Board of Directors of Yakima Federal Savings.
His father, Ivan Hastings, died September 12, 2002 at age 89 and his mother, Florene, died on May 22, 2011 at age 97.
Washington House of Representatives
Hastings served in the Washington House of Representatives from 1979 to 1987, where he was selected by his colleagues to be Assistant Majority Leader and Republican Caucus Chairman. Hastings voluntarily left the Legislature so he could be home with his kids as they experienced their high school years.
Hastings first ran for the 4th District in 1992, but lost to Democratic State Representative Jay Inslee by two percent.
Although Hastings carried the Tri-Cities, he lost the rest of the district.
Hastings sought a rematch against Inslee in 1994. This time Hastings handily won by six percentage points, capitalizing on anger at Inslee's campaigning as a centrist while establishing one of the most liberal voting records in Congress. (Inslee later returned to Congress as a representative from the liberal leaning 1st District.) Hastings was reelected in 1996 with 53% of the votes cast in his favor. Hastings has carried over 60% of the vote in each election since, and has become the most popular and recognizable politician in Central Washington.
Hastings was challenged by Democrat Jay Clough, a nuclear waste cleanup contractor and USMC veteran.
A campaign committee has been formed to fund a run for office by Hastings in 2012.
U.S. House of Representatives
- Committee on Natural Resources(Chairman)
- As Chairman of the full committee, Rep. ex officio member of all subcommittees.
Hastings may serve as an
Rep. Hastings was formerly the ranking member of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, also known as the House Ethics Committee, and a past chair of that committee. He replaced Joel Hefley as chairman in 2005 when Hefley's term expired. He chaired the Ethics Committee for the duration of the 109th Congress and switched to ranking member when the Democrats won the majority for the 110th Congress.
- House Nuclear Clean-Up Caucus (Chairman and founder)
- Northwest Energy Caucus (Co-chair)
- Rural Health Care Coalition
- Specialty Crop Caucus
Hastings is the senior Republican in the Northwest Congressional delegation.
Congressman Hastings was instrumental in building the case that led to the expulsion of Democratic Congressman James Traficant from the United States Congress in 2002. As Chairman of the Investigative Subcommittee of the United States House Committee on Ethics, Hastings was tasked with reviewing the file from Traficant's trial and other material to determine if there had been a violation of House rules. After considering all of the evidence, I concluded that Mr. Traficant's offenses were so serious and so purposeful that expulsion from the House is the only appropriate sanction." The measure to remove Traficant from the House passed 420-1.
Hastings said on the floor of the House, "
Hastings may have had ties to the lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, convicted of bribery of elected officials. In 1996, Abramoff and his lobbying firm had as many as 36 contacts with Hasting's office, resulting in as many as 85.57 billed hours regarding the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Abramoff bragged to the CNMI of having "excellent" ties to Hastings. Hastings' 2004 campaign had received $1,000 from Abramoff personally and an additional $5,647 from Abramoff's lobbying firm, which was also one of the largest law firms in the State of Washington, Preston Gates.
However, Preston Gates, which was also Microsoft's law and lobbying firm, also contributed to Washington Democrats during that cycle, including Congressman Jim McDermott of Seattle.
Following Hastings' work that led to Traficant's removal from the House, he was named to the Chairmanship of what was then a dysfunctional United States House Committee on Ethics. Soon after being named Chairman, two senior staff members for the committee were fired, and Hastings attempted to place his office Chief of Staff, Ed Cassidy, onto the Ethics Committee staff. Democrats cast this a partisan move, while Republicans pointed out that such a change in staff is the norm with the naming of a new committee chairman. The claim that Hastings fired the entire committee staff to protect Tom DeLay remains unsubstantiated. Hastings came under fire during his chairmanship of the Ethics Committee, due to perceived inaction regarding the unethical conduct of then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. By rule, the House Ethics Committee's work, votes, and investigative findings are kept strictly confidential.
In 2008, Hastings, by now the ranking member of the Ethics Committee, pushed the investigation of Charlie Rangel. A four-person investigative subcommittee was formed with Hastings as co-chair. The subcommittee's subsequent report led to Rangel's loss of the chairmanship of the powerful Ways and Means Committee and censure by the House in 2010.
On the Washington Congressional Election 2010 Political Courage Test, Hastings responded that he is favor of charter schools, gun owners' rights, and the line-item veto. He is in favor of establishing a "functional and enforceable guest worker program." He is favor of a reduction in spending in almost all areas of the Federal budget. He is in favor of eliminating Federal spending for the arts and the United Nations, and favors decreasing spending on climate change, international aid, and welfare. He is opposed to taxpayer-funded political campaigns. On social issues, he responded that he believes marriage should be between one man and one woman, that English should be the official language of the United States, that he does not support embryonic stem cell research, and that he thinks government should end affirmative-action programs.
"Top priorities must be creating jobs, getting our economy back on track, and stopping reckless spending that has left our nation with the largest deficit in history," wrote Hastings in response to Project Vote Smart.
Hastings is the chairman of the United States House Committee on Natural Resources and is a proponent of increasing domestic production of oil and gas, including drilling in the remote Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. He said, "Promoting new domestic energy production, including in the Arctic, will be a priority," for the House National Resources Committee.
Interest group ratings
Hastings is rated as one of the most pro-business representatives in Congress, according to the United States Chamber of Commerce which gives Hastings a score of 94 out of 100 based on his 16-year voting record. The conservative Club for Growth gives Hastings a grade of 94 out of 100. The National Taxpayers Union gives Hastings a grade of A. Hastings has been given an 'A' grade by Keep America Safe, a national security PAC formed by Liz Cheney. Hastings is a conservative, earning a 95.15 lifetime rating, as of 2010, from the American Conservative Union. Hastings is pro-life, demonstrated by consistent ratings of 100% from the National Right to Life Committee. Doc Hastings has received mixed ratings from some national agricultural groups. For 2009-2010 the American Farm Bureau Federation gave Representative Hastings a rating of 66 percent. Hastings's rating from the National Association of Wheat Growers was 25 percent in 2008. Hastings rates low with unions. In 2009 and 2010, he received grades of D and F from the National Education Association, and a rating of 0% from the American Association of University Women. Hastings also rates poorly with some environmental groups. In his latest ratings he received a 0% from the League of Conservation voters and an 8% from Republicans for Environmental Protection. In 2009-2010 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave Representative Hastings a grade of D.
In 1967, Hastings married his wife, Claire, in Sacramento, California. Together they have three children: Kirsten, Petrina, and Colin. They live in Pasco.
March 4, 2012