It is with great sadness that Issue One learned the news of the passing of former member of Congress Richard Hanna (R-NY). Rep. Hanna was a dedicated and enthusiastic member of Issue One’s Board of Directors and the bipartisan ReFormers Caucus — Issue One’s group of over 200 former members of Congress, Cabinet officials, and governors from both parties committed to fixing our broken political system.
Throughout his three terms in Congress, he confronted the hyper-partisan factions of his party and championed a variety of issues, including building a bipartisan coalition in 2012 to renew the Violence Against Women Act.
Rep. Hanna was actively engaged in the work of Issue One, from volunteering his valuable insights as a former member of Congress to our “Price of Power” report to appearing on New York local radio to talk about Issue One’s work.
Remembering Hanna’s legacy, Issue One CEO and Co-founder Nick Penniman said, “Richard Hanna was a true citizen legislator, the kind the Founders envisioned. Self-reliant, honest, interested in serving in Congress not because he was a political animal who wanted to climb the ladders on the Hill, but because he wanted to serve.
“The words ‘country above party’ were no mere slogan for him; they were his natural perspective. He was only ever going to follow the dictates of his own conscience and sense of fairness and decency. Oh, how we need more Richard Hannas serving our nation today.”
Rep. Hanna speaking with Sen. Amy Klobuchar at Issue One’s Teddy Award ceremony
“Richard Hanna served America with deep distinction and unwavering patriotism. In the ultimate salute to the United States, he often put loyalty to country over party allegiance, said former Ambassador Tim Roemer (D-IN), co-chair of the ReFormers Caucus. “He embodied the best attributes of our bipartisan ReFormer Caucus, standing strong for bold changes to our broken politics. We need more of his courage, independence, and spirit”
Former Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN), also co-chair of the ReFormers Caucus, remembers Hanna for his independence and sense of service: “During his time in Congress, Rep. Richard Hanna rose above the tribalism in American politics to press reforms of our broken system, and after his congressional service, he remained a leading activist for reform. Our ReFormers Caucus will miss his energy, leadership, and kind disposition, but we will never forget his tough and dogged determination to clean up the mess that is Washington in the 21st century.”
Reflecting on Rep. Hanna’s unique and lasting contributions to Issue One and the ReFormers Caucus, Executive Director Meredith McGehee said, “You could not pick a better representation of the spirit of Issue One than the late Rep. Hanna. First and foremost, he served the American people, and knew cooperation and collaboration are not dirty words — they are our greatest strengths as a nation. We mourn not only the loss of a vigorous reform advocate, an ambassador for our ReFormers Caucus, and an Issue One board member, but a person that was unafraid to always fight for his guiding principles. His memory will live on in his works and the example he set for us all.”
Rep. Hanna is survived by his wife, Kim, and his two children, Emerson and Grace. We will be thinking of them and his entire upstate New York community as we remember his wonderful life and legacy.