BREAKING: Longtime GOP Senator Passes Away

In a poignant moment for both Oklahoma and the nation, former GOP Senator James Inhofe passed away at the age of 89. His family confirmed to local outlet Tulsa World that he died peacefully after a brief illness during the 4th of July holiday weekend. Inhofe’s passing marks the end of an era defined by staunch conservative values and unwavering dedication to public service.

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1934, Inhofe’s early life was as storied as his career. After his elementary school tragically burned down, his family moved first to Illinois and then to Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was here that Inhofe began laying the groundwork for his future in public service. Post high school, he served two years in the U.S. Army before stepping into the insurance business, eventually taking over his father’s company in 1970.

Inhofe’s political career took off when he won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving three terms before clinching a Senate seat in the Republican wave of 1994. This victory came on the heels of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America—a time when the GOP was riding high on a tide of conservatism. In the Senate, Inhofe became a powerhouse, chairing both the Armed Services and Environment Committees. His tenure was marked by robust advocacy for American energy independence and a controversial stance on climate change, which he famously denied.

Oklahoma Congressman Kevin Hern paid tribute to Inhofe, saying, “Senator Jim Inhofe was a dear friend and mentor, a titan in Oklahoma, and a highly effective leader in DC. Tammy and I are keeping Kay and the rest of the Inhofe family in our prayers. Jim spent his life in service to his country, both in uniform and in the halls of Congress. He will always be remembered as a fighter, especially for our military service members”.

Inhofe’s legislative victories were numerous and impactful. Mike Neal, President and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, highlighted several key achievements: securing full funding for the Tulsa/West Tulsa Levees, leading the designation of U.S. Highway 412 as an interstate, and addressing the maintenance backlog of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. Neal remarked, “The breadth of Senator Inhofe’s impact on Oklahoma and the members of its business community is immeasurable. We applaud his commitment to our great state and offer our condolences to Kay and his wonderful family”.

Inhofe’s legacy extends beyond his legislative accomplishments. He embodied the “Oklahoma Standard”—a blend of rugged determination, deep-rooted faith, and a steadfast commitment to his constituents. His nearly three-decade tenure in the Senate was marked by a fervent defense of conservative principles and a relentless drive to serve those who elected him.

As the nation bids farewell to Senator Jim Inhofe, it does so with a sense of gratitude for his decades of service. His life’s work, from the local streets of Tulsa to the hallowed halls of Washington, D.C., leaves an indelible mark on American politics. His legacy, much like his personality, is larger than life, and he will be remembered as one of Oklahoma’s most influential figures.