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Hughes, Harold E.



  • Existence: 1922-1996


Harold Everett Hughes was born near Ida Grove, Iowa on February 10, 1922. Struggling against rural poverty, he attended public schools and was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Iowa. He quit school after his freshman year and was married. In 1942, Hughes enlisted in the army and saw combat in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. He was sent home after contracting both jaundice and malaria, serving out the remainder of his enlistment stateside.

Hughes took a job driving trucks after the war. It was through trucking that he first became involved in politics. He founded the Iowa Better Trucking Bureau to represent small truckers. In 1958, after switching political parties from Republican to Democrat, Hughes ran for a seat on the Iowa State Commerce Commission. He was elected and served from 1959 to 1962. In 1963, Hughes was elected governor of Iowa, defeating the incumbent Republican , Governor Erbe. He went on the serve for three terms. Elected to the US Senate (1968 -- 1975), he briefly sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1971, and chose not to seek re-election to the Senate in 1974.

Harold Everett Hughes was very much a man shaped by his past. The poverty he experienced during his youth, his battle with alcoholism, his blue-collar background, and his strong religious faith all worked to mold the man and his politics. He opposed the death penalty and the Vietnam War, worked tirelessly for alcohol and drug abuse legislation, was involved in conservation issues, and was regarded as a liberal Democrat and a charismatic candidate.

Harold Hughes died October 23, 1996 in Glendale, Arizona.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Harold E. Hughes Gubernatorial Papers

Identifier: MsC0385

Governor and U.S. Senator from Iowa. Gubernatorial and senatorial office files relating to his political career.

Dates: 1962-1975

Harold E. Hughes Senatorial Papers

Identifier: MsC0385.1

Papers from Hughes' time in the Senate, 1969-1975.

Dates: 1922-1996; 1969-1975

Additional filters:

Agriculture 1
Alcoholism 1
Audiotapes 1
Banks and banking 1
Cedar Rapids (Iowa) 1