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Orval Howard Hansen (August 3, 1926 – November 2, 2017) was an American politician who served as a congressman from Idaho. He served three terms as a Republican in the House from 1969 to 1975, representing the state's 2nd district.

Orval H. Hansen
Orval H. Hansen.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Idaho's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1969 – January 3, 1975
Preceded byGeorge Hansen
Succeeded byGeorge Hansen
Member of the Idaho Senate
In office
Member of the Idaho House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Orval Howard Hansen

(1926-08-03)August 3, 1926
Firth, Idaho
DiedNovember 2, 2017(2017-11-02) (aged 91)
Boise, Idaho
NationalityUnited States
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)June Duncan
ResidenceIdaho Falls
Alma materUniversity of Idaho, 1950
George Washington University, J.D., 1954
George Washington University, Ph.D., 1986
ProfessionAttorney, Military
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceU.S. Navy,
U.S. Air Force Reserve
Years of service1944–46 (USN)
ret. 1978 (USAF)
RankUS-O5 insignia.svg Lt. Colonel
Battles/warsWorld War II, Cold War

Early yearsEdit

Born in Firth, Idaho to Lily Dorothy Miriam (née Wahlquist) and Farrel L. Hansen, his mother the daughter of Swedish immigrants and his father of Danish descent.[1][2] Hansen was raised in Idaho Falls and graduated from Idaho Falls High School in 1944. After military service in World War II, he attended the University of Idaho in Moscow, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa,[3] Sigma Chi fraternity,[4] and extremely active with campus activities.[5] Hansen earned a B.A. summa cum laude in 1950 from UI and then attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and received a J.D. from its Law School in 1954. He also earned an LLM (awarded in 1973) and a Ph.D. in political science (awarded in 1986) from GWU.

He served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946, including one year in the Pacific on the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, and was a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve until his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 1978.

Political careerEdit

Hansen's political career began in the state legislature, where he served four terms in the House, beginning in 1956. He served as House Majority Leader from 1961 to 1962. In his first run for Congress in 1962, he won the GOP nomination in a June runoff,[6][7] but lost the general election to incumbent Ralph Harding. He returned to the Idaho House for another two-year term, followed by one term in the state senate.

Hansen ran again for Congress, won the Republican primary over two others,[8] and was elected to the open seat in 1968. He served three terms before being ousted in the 1974 Republican primary in August by the man he succeeded six years earlier, George Hansen (no relation).[9][10] (George Hansen had vacated the seat in 1968 to run for the U.S. Senate, but lost to incumbent Frank Church.) U.S. Senator Mike Crapo got his first taste of Washington politics as an intern for Orval Hansen during the summer of 1972.

U.S. House elections (Idaho's 2nd district): Results 1962, 1968–1972
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1962 Ralph Harding (inc.) 83,152 52.8% Orval Hansen 74,203 47.2%
1968 Darrel V. Manning 54,256 43.9% Orval Hansen 65,029 52.6% Joel Anderson Amer. Indep. 4,377 3.5%
1970 Marden E. Wells 31,872 31.6% Orval Hansen (inc.) 66,428 65.8% Joel Anderson American 2,625 2.6%
1972 Willis H. Ludlow 40,081 27.0% Orval Hansen (inc.) 102,537 69.2% John L. Thiebert American 5,560 3.8%

Following his service in Congress, Hansen returned to private law practice, and founded the Columbia Institute for Political Research in 1977.


Hansen was married to the former June Duncan of Southport, England; they have seven children. In 2006, Hansen's son Jim D. Hansen won the Democratic nomination for the 2nd district seat, but was defeated by incumbent Mike Simpson.

Hansen died at his home in Boise on November 2, 2017 of complications from cancer at the age of 91.[12]


  This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

  1. ^ "Obiturary: Lily W. Hansen", FamilySearch, retrieved March 20, 2018
  2. ^ "United States Census, 1930", FamilySearch, retrieved March 20, 2018
  3. ^ "Phi Beta Kappa". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1950. p. 283. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ "Sigma Chi". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1950. p. 201. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ "Campus personalities". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1950. p. 274. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  6. ^ "Hansen may face runoff with Sanborn". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. June 6, 1962. p. 1.
  7. ^ "Orval Hansen defeats Sanborn in second district runoff". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. June 27, 1962. p. 1.
  8. ^ "Solon gets GOP nod; Idahoans pick Shepard". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. August 7, 1968. p. 35.
  9. ^ "Orval Hansen apparently out". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. August 7, 1974. p. 1.
  10. ^ Glaus, Ric (October 5, 1975). "Orval Hansen says Steve Symms cost him the campaign". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 5A.
  11. ^ "Office of the Clerk: Election statistics". U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  12. ^ Nate Poppino; Rocky Barker (November 3, 2017). "Orval Hansen, congressman who helped give Idaho a nuclear lab, dies at 91". Twin Falls Times-News. Idaho Statesman. Retrieved November 3, 2017.

External linksEdit