Rarely in the spotlight, Richard “Doc” Hastings represented his Eastern Washington district for two decades. He helped create the nuclear cleanup caucus, ensured Hanford Site funding, protected Northwest dams, backed water storage solutions, and championed public lands development. Voters elected him nine times by an average margin of 63 percent.
Doc’s tenure included major national issues and events—9/11, wars, surging federal debt, the Great Recession, Obamacare, and more. A party loyalist, Doc and his fellow Republicans engaged the Democrats in battles that rarely led to compromise on key legislation. Voters changed the political composition of Congress three times, but each new majority continued to push through its agenda—and the cycle continues.
Thoroughly researched and based on hundreds of interviews, Congressman Doc Hastings: Twenty Years of Turmoil combines biography, history, and commentary to lend insight into the growing political divide and demonstrate how the past influences the country’s political future.
C. Mark Smith is an award-winning author of three books. He spent forty years managing economic development organizations at the local, state, and federal level, but his greatest interests have always been at the nexus of history, politics, and community service. He and his wife, Elsa, make their home in Richland, Washington.
Illustrations / notes /appendices / bibliography / index (2019)
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“Mark Smith’s new book…recognizes the often unappreciated contributions of Doc Hastings…. His personal values and his solid, conservative principles drove his politics, and he never wavered from either. Smith’s book also describes the divisive political events [of] Doc’s twenty years in Congress. Republican activists…became the establishment, overreached, struggled to recover, and then were threatened again from the right because they were no longer conservative enough…. The Democratic Party was the mirror image of the process, only from the left. Smith is a fine storyteller, and his book is a valuable primer on how we came to be where we are.”—Slade Gorton, US Senator (R-WA) (1981–1987 and 1989–2001)
“Doc took me under his wing, helped me along on the Natural Resources Committee, and supported my efforts to advance in leadership. I learned that when Doc spoke, people on both sides of the aisle listened. His legacy is visible on the landscape of Central and Eastern Washington: from the well-irrigated fields, the thriving rural communities and the productive forestland to the low-cost electricity that has sparked so much economic growth and so many new jobs.”—Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Member of Congress (R-WA) (2003 to present), Chair, House Republican Conference
“This book about Doc Hastings provides an in-depth look at Congress during the exciting, but difficult years between 1995 and 2015. Although he rarely sought the spotlight, his colleagues considered him a true legislator, who thought government should be the servant of the people, and not its master, and who could be counted on to carry out difficult assignments when asked. That is why he is one of only a handful of members of the House of Representatives to have chaired two standing committees.”—John Boehner, Member of Congress (R-OH) (1995-2015), Speaker of the House (2001-2015)
“Doc and I served together for much of our congressional careers, and while we often disagreed on policy matters, we worked closely together on Hanford and other important statewide issues. We often saw the political turmoil Smith describes from different viewpoints but Smith’s description of it holds true.”—Norm Dicks, Member of Congress (D-WA) (1977–2013)
“I think Doc stayed around a long as he did because the people at home felt like he was there for the right reasons. He wasn’t there for Doc. This wasn’t about making him look good, this was about trying to change the government in a way he and they thought it needed to be changed. All of that is laid out in Mark Smith’s excellent narrative. It’s a first-class biography.”—Lindsey Graham, Member of Congress (R-S.C) (1993-2003), U.S. Senator (R-S.C) (2003 to present)
“Mark Smith’s compelling, insightful biography of Doc Hastings introduces a statewide audience to an under-rated Eastern Washington conservative with a conscience.”—John C. Hughes, Legacy Washington Historian