The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only major religion founded in the U.S., and yet it wasn't until recent years that Mormons serving in government have drawn much attention. However, on both sides of the aisle, Mormons serve in the U.S. Senate alongside men and women of various backgrounds and beliefs. Related lists: Mormons serving in the House of Representatives (112th Congress)
Former New Mexico Attorney General Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., has had family in the Mormon faith since the pioneer days. Udall serves on a number of Senate committees including the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the United States Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs where he works on economic development, trust responsibilities, land management, Indian education and health programs.
Six-term senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance and has backed initiatives like the Balanced Budget Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Utah School Trust Lands Exchange Act. If re-elected, Hatch will be the most senior Republican senator.
Former Nevada Secretary of State and now Senator Dean Heller, R-Nev., was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives until he was appointed by Nevada governor Brian Sandoval to fill a vacant Senate seat. He plans to run for election to the seat in 2012. Although he once declared himself pro-choice, he has been more actively pro-life politically.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is a graduate of Brigham Young University's law school and was elected to office in 2010. He serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, among others and has been quoted as saying, “Mormons sort of have an extra chromosome when it comes to American exceptionalism" because the faith has taught that America was founded by God's grace.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., came from very humble beginnings and was able to attend college thanks to the generosity of a group of local businessmen. Although his political views have been criticized as conflicting with the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Reid has said he feels the Democratic perspective is easier to reconcile with his faith because of the mutual emphasis on helping others.
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, first served in the U.S. House of Representatives before being elected to Senate in 1998. He serves as the fifth-ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee and also sits on the Senate Budget Committee. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Harvard Law. He has become an advocate for early cancer detection after his own bout with prostate cancer.