Longtime State Senator Hinton Mitchem Dies

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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Former Senator Hinton Mitchem, who served in the Alabama Legislature for more than three decades, died Tuesday.  He was 74 years old.

Mitchem retired in 2010, after having been elected to the Alabama Legislature nine times.  He served one term in the State House of Representatives and eight terms in the Alabama Senate.  His district included Marshall County and parts of Blount, Madison, and at one time, DeKalb County.

"Hinton Mitchem worked hard on behalf of the people of his district," said Gov. Robert Bentley. "I had the pleasure of serving with him in the Legislature, and we had a strong mutual respect for each other. Dianne and I are saddened to learn of his passing."

Clay Scofield won election for the 9th District Alabama Senate seat in 2010, and said he probably would have waited to run for office had Mitchem sought a ninth term.

"It would have been difficult to run against someone whom you respect and who is doing a good job, so why would you seek to defeat them?," Scofield said.

Scofield was relieved not to face an incumbent who was first elected before he was born, but said it his reason for not wanting to challenge Mitchem was not out of fear of a loss.

"Out of respect," he said.  "Out of respect for Hinton Mitchem."

He said Mitchem showed him respect to, and called him soon after that 2010 election.

"He says would you like to have breakfast one morning and I said absolutely, I would love to.  We went to breakfast at Huddle House in Arab.  That breakfast turned into three and a half hours and I learned more in that three and a half hour period than I have in my two years in office.  He shared with me so many things," Scofield said.

One in particular was Mitchem's passion for Alabama state parks, which Scofield said he did not fully understand until that breakfast, and is now part of his personal mission.

"There are things that I know that were important to him, that in the name of his legacy I will continue to go to bat for," Scofield said.

Senator Mitchem is survived by his wife Judy and his children: Todd Mitchem; Derrick Mitchem and his wife, Heather; Tonya Grindon and her husband, Steve; and Brittnie Mabry; and four grandchildren, Ashleigh, Emma Grace and Henry Grindon and Derrick Hinton Mitchem.

Moss Service Funeral Home in Cullman is handling the arrangements.

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