SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Sen. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, cast his 12,000th vote on a defense bill, making him one of no more than 15 members to have done so in the history of the U.S. Senate.
Republican Hatch is in his sixth term. He was first elected in 1976 -- that's 32 years in office.
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky marked the occasion for Hatch on Thursday with lengthy floor remarks that were posted on YouTube.
McConnell says that with Hatch in office, nobody in Washington has been able to push Utah around.
He called Hatch a well-known and influential senator, veteran of the powerful Judiciary Committee -- and a songwriter on his own time.
Hatch has made sacrifices. As McConnell relates this story, the senator's wife Elaine asked a few years ago if it was time for retirement so the couple could have a life.
Hatch responded that public service was his life.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)