Richard L. Hanna

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Richard L. Hanna
Richard Hanna, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byMike Arcuri
Succeeded byClaudia Tenney
Constituency24th district (2011–13)
22nd district (2013–17)
Personal details
Richard Louis Hanna

(1951-01-25)January 25, 1951
Utica, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 15, 2020(2020-03-15) (aged 69)
Oneida County, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Kimberly Hanna
EducationReed College (BA)

Richard Louis Hanna (January 25, 1951 – March 15, 2020) was an American politician who served as a U.S. Representative from New York from 2011 to 2017. A member of the Republican Party, his district was numbered the 24th during his first term in Congress; since 2013, it has been the 22nd district.

Early life, education and business career[edit]

Hanna was born in Utica and raised in Marcy. His grandparents owned a dairy farm in Herkimer County. He graduated from Whitesboro High School in Marcy. Then, he graduated from Reed College with a bachelor's degree in Economics and Political Science. After college, Hanna returned to New York to start his own construction business called Hanna Construction.[1] Hanna was of Lebanese descent.[2]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


In 2008, Hanna ran against incumbent Democrat Mike Arcuri and narrowly lost. In 2010, he ran in a rematch and won.

Due to redistricting, Hanna ran in the new 22nd district in 2012.

In his 2012 campaign for re-election against Democrat Dan Lamb, television stations WUTR in Utica and WSYR in Syracuse announced they would jointly air a debate between Hanna and Lamb. Hanna declined to participate, citing another scheduled televised debate and five that would not be televised. The stations said that if Hanna did not appear, they would air a 30-minute question-and-answer session with Lamb. According to Steve Merren, the vice president and general manager of WUTR's parent company, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Hanna then contacted Merren. In an email to staff, Merren stated, "He indicated to me that we would not be considered for his ad dollars and our level of cooperation in the future could be affected." Merren then directed that WUTR not go ahead with the broadcast. Both Merren and a Hanna spokeswoman denied that threats had been made. After the inadvertent disclosure of the internal email, Merren told the press that Hanna "did not say he would pull his ad dollars." The Hanna campaign said that his conversation with Merren had been "nothing more than a courtesy call". The Lamb campaign said that Hanna was "using his money to influence the journalistic decisions of a local news agency."[3][4]

In 2014, Hanna received a primary challenge from a considerably more conservative Republican, State Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney. Described as a "Tea Party favorite," Tenney reportedly challenged Hanna because "she believed he had abandoned his conservative principles during two terms in Congress. Tenney called Hanna a RINO (Republican in Name Only) who had become the third-most liberal Republican in the House of Representatives, based on his voting record." Hanna defeated Tenney by a margin of 53% to 47%; when asked about the message sent by his win, he said, "I hope it's a message that you could be thoughtful and inclusive and still be elected."[5] Hanna went on to win re-election in November, when he had no Democratic challenger.


Hanna was a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee and the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership. He was a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus.[6] Hanna stated his opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He was one of only six House Republicans in the 112th Congress who did not sign Grover Norquist's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," with a spokesman explaining that "Rep. Hanna is focusing on the pledges he has made to his wife, the Constitution of the United States and the people of upstate New York."[7][8]

According to the Washington Post's congressional votes database, Hanna voted with the House Republicans 85% of the time in his first year in office; only 11 Republicans (out of 244) had a lower percentage at the time.[9] Hanna was ranked as the 2nd most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 114th United States Congress (after Peter T. King) in The Lugar Center and McCourt School of Public Policy's Bipartisan Index.[10]

In February 2011, Hanna published an op-ed opposing the extension of the USA PATRIOT Act. Editors from the Syracuse Post-Standard, which published the piece, later reprimanded Hanna[11] for plagiarizing content from a report by Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute in his editorial. Sanchez indicated that Hanna had his permission to use the content, although he was not referenced in the piece.

The first bill Hanna co-sponsored was H.R. 4 which repealed the 1099 tax reporting provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. President Obama signed the bill into law in April 2011.[12] In early 2011 Congressman Hanna voted to repeal health care reform.[13] Hanna voted to support the Energy Tax Prevention Act which would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gasses and implementing a "cap-and-trade" system through regulation.[14] Hanna voted against cuts to NPR and Planned Parenthood.[15] Hanna voted in favor of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.[16]

At a rally in support of the Equal Rights Amendment in March 2012, Hanna urged women to donate to Democratic candidates, saying: "I think these are very precarious times for women, it seems. So many of your rights are under assault... Contribute your money to people who speak out on your behalf, because the other side -- my side -- has a lot of it."[17]

In the 2012 presidential election, he endorsed former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr.[18]

Hanna supported reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.[19]

In 2013, he supported same-sex marriage, becoming the second Republican member of the House to do so (the first being Ileana Ros-Lehtinen).[20]

In June 2013, Hanna was the only Republican congressman to vote against proposed legislation to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy except for victims of rape or incest who have reported the crime to authorities. He opposes partial birth abortions, but stated that he was unable to support this legislation because it would cast aside exception for the health of the mother, and it fails to adequately account for unique circumstances that can arise after 20 weeks because every pregnancy is specific.[21]

In December 2015, Hanna—citing family responsibilities—announced that he did not plan to run for re-election in 2016. Hanna indicated that a potential primary rematch with Claudia Tenney did not influence his decision not to seek re-election.[22] He endorsed businessman Steve Wells as his successor,[23] but Wells lost the primary to Tenney, who won the seat in the general election.

On August 2, 2016, Hanna became the first sitting Republican member of Congress to say that he would vote for Hillary Clinton for president over Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, referring to the Republican nominee as "a national embarrassment".[24][25]

In December 2016, Hanna said in an interview that the Republican Party had "gone to the far extremes on social issues. They've become judgmental and sanctimonious and authoritarian on their approach to people."[26]

Committee assignments[edit]

United States House Transportation Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment

Caucus memberships[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Hanna lived in Barneveld, New York. He and his wife Kim had two children.[28] He died of cancer on March 15, 2020.[29][30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Clinton stumps for NY House Dems in tight races". Associated Press. November 1, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  2. ^ "Honoring Lebanon on its 70th Independence Day Hon. Richard L. Hanna of New York in the House of Representatives". The United States Congress. November 13, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  3. ^ "GOP Congressman Threatens Local News Station for Covering Debate". Common Dreams. October 6, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  4. ^ "Email: Hanna discussed pulling ads after debate flap with WUTR". Observer-Dispatch. October 6, 2012. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  5. ^ "NY-22 election results: U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna defeats Claudia Tenney in GOP primary". June 24, 2014. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  6. ^ Robert Harding (August 3, 2011). "Hanna joins House LGBT Equality Caucus". Auburn Citizen. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  7. ^ "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers, 112th Congressional List" (PDF). Americans for Tax Reform. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
  8. ^ Alexander Bolton (June 2, 2011). "Some GOP no's on 'pledge' could complicate debt talks". The Hill. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
  9. ^ Harding, Robert. "Eye on NY: A close look at Hanna's first year". Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  10. ^ The Lugar Center - McCourt School Bipartisan Index (PDF), The Lugar Center, March 7, 2016, retrieved April 30, 2017
  11. ^ Board, Advance Media NY Editorial (March 11, 2011). "Hanna’s near-plagiarism". syracuse.
  12. ^ "". Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  13. ^ "This website is currently unavailable". Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Deep federal spending cuts? Buerkle is ready, Hanna is not, Owens unimpressed". Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  16. ^ Representatives, Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of. "Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives". Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  17. ^ "Richard Hanna, GOP Congressman, Tells Women To Give Their Money To Democrats". The Huffington Post. March 22, 2012.
  18. ^ "Huntsman to gain first congressional backer". CNN. January 7, 2012.
  19. ^ Jennifer Bendery (December 11, 2012). "Violence Against Women Act: John Boehner, Eric Cantor Pressured By Republicans To Act". Huffington Post.
  20. ^ "Gay marriage legal brief: Two Republicans in Congress support LGBT rights". February 26, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  21. ^ Tumulty, Brian (June 18, 2013). "Hanna sole New York Republican to oppose House abortion bill". Politics on the Hudson. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  22. ^ Weiner, Mark (December 20, 2015). "GOP Rep. Richard Hanna plans to retire at end of term (video)". Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Richard Hanna (August 2, 2016). "Rep. Richard Hanna letter: We should all be done with Donald Trump (commentary)".
  25. ^ "Republican Rep. Richard Hanna will vote for Clinton". Politico. August 2, 2016.
  26. ^ Weiner, Mark (December 30, 2016). "Retiring Rep. Richard Hanna: GOP too intolerant, extreme on social issues". Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  27. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  28. ^ "Personal life biodata". Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  29. ^ News, WRVO (March 16, 2020). "NEW: Former Congressman Richard Hanna, who represented NY's 22nd Congressional District for three terms, has died at the age of 69. His family says passed away "after a private and courageous battle with cancer." Statement from".
  30. ^ "Former U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, GOP moderate, dies at 69". syracuse. March 16, 2020.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mike Arcuri
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 24th congressional district

Succeeded by
Dan Maffei
Preceded by
Maurice Hinchey
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 22nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Claudia Tenney