We send our condolences to the family and friends of former Congressman Richard L. Hanna, who died last Sunday of cancer at age 69.
Hanna was a rare congressman. A Republican in name, he was known for his moderate points-of-view and for even siding with Democrats if he thought it was the right thing to do. He was a supporter of women’s rights as well as LGBTQ rights. He also endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.
In his last congressional term, Hanna often repeated that he remained faithful to the Republican Party he had first joined, but that the party itself became more right-leaning and less tolerant. We don’t encounter this type of sentiment too often.
Hanna was a Utica native who built a successful construction business and served in Congress from 2011 through 2017. According to his Congressional biography, Hanna graduated from Whitesboro High School in Marcy and earned a bachelor’s degree from Reed College in 1976. His home was in Barneveld.
After his death local officials expressed their sorrow. “The Congressman was a giant of upstate New York, a public servant who ‘talked the talk’ and ‘walked the walk’ in his bipartisan service to this community,” said Rep. Anthony Brindisi, the Democrat who represents the 22nd District now.
“Eleanor and I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Congressman Richard Hanna,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “Richard was a dear friend who I was proud to work with before, during and after his time in office. He was a tremendous leader whose voice would be beyond valuable during these trying times. My condolences go out to his wife Kim and their children.”
Hanna was often praised for his collaborative efforts with other officials. “We need more of that in Congress,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, said. We agree.