I have known Sen. Orrin Hatch since 1976. As a businessman, I have requested his help in matters relating to providing senior housing to the elderly. Hatch has been extremely helpful and effective in providing D.C. contacts.

I respect his intellect and integrity. Recently, I saw that the tea party has publicly declared its intent to defeat Hatch in the next election. They feel he is not conservative enough, although he is rated as voting conservative 91 percent of the time.

I like the tea party philosophy and its enthusiasm and goals. But to defeat Hatch at this time would be foolish and shortsighted. If Republicans take control of the Senate, Hatch would be chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee and would play an influential role in righting disastrous economic policies.

A defeat of Hatch and replacing him with anyone (Chaffetz or Matheson) would denude Utah of clout in Washington at this critical time.

His replacement would be at the bottom of the totem pole in committee assignments and would be ineffective for many years.

Tea partiers do much good, but they should not become so over zealous to throw the "rascals out." They shoot Utah and America in the foot by undermining Hatch.

Vaughn L. Pulsipher