Harry Hughes

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Harry Hughes
Maryland Governor Harry Hughes speaking at Fort Belvoir, Feb 16, 1988.jpg
Governor Hughes speaking at Fort Belvoir, February 1985.
57th Governor of Maryland
In office
January 17, 1979 – January 21, 1987
Lieutenant Samuel Bogley
J. Joseph Curran, Jr.
Preceded by Marvin Mandel
Succeeded by William Donald Schaefer
Member of the Maryland Senate
In office
Member of the Maryland House of Delegates
In office
Personal details
Harry Roe Hughes

(1926-11-13) November 13, 1926 (age 92)
Easton, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Patricia Donoho
Children Anne, Beth
Alma mater George Washington University
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1944–1945
Battles/wars World War II

Harry Roe Hughes (born November 13, 1926), a member of the Democratic Party, was the 57th Governor of Maryland from 1979 to 1987.[1][2]

Early life and family

Born in Easton, Maryland, Hughes attended Caroline County, Maryland, public schools before attending the Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. After school, Hughes served in the U.S. Naval Air Corps during the Second World War.[3]

After the War, Hughes continued his education by attending Mount Saint Mary's University and the University of Maryland, from which he graduated in 1949. At Maryland he was a member of the Alpha Psi chapter of the Theta Chi social fraternity. He received his law degree from The George Washington University Law School in 1952 and was admitted to the Maryland Bar the same year. Hughes married his wife, Patricia Donoho Hughes, on June 30, 1951. They have two daughters, Ann and Elizabeth. Patricia Hughes died on January 20, 2010, in Denton at the age of 79.[4]

Prior to his election as governor, Hughes was an attorney and one-time professional baseball player in the Eastern Shore League.[5] From 1966–1970, Hughes was the chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee.

Political career

Hughes began his political career as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1955 to 1959, representing Caroline County. He was elected a member of the Maryland Senate in 1959 for district 15, representing Caroline, Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's, and Talbot counties. In 1971, Hughes was offered and accepted the position of Secretary of Transportation for the state. In 1978, however, Hughes resigned from his position because of a disagreement in the State Department of Transportation regarding the construction of a subway in Baltimore City.

Rural voters criticize his tenure in the legislature for casting a deciding vote that ended the practice of allowing for at least one state senator or delegate per county. Between 1994 and 2014, no General Assembly Member was elected from Hughes' native Caroline County.

Hughes was elected governor in 1978 after defeating Lieutenant Governor Blair Lee III in the Democratic primary election, and Republican John Glenn Beall, Jr. in the general election. Among other things, Hughes was a strong advocate for the Chesapeake Bay. He signed into law such legislation as that approving the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, which set into motion efforts to protect the Bay from pollution and excessive hunting.

Also during his administration, Maryland foreign trade with China was initiated. The Savings and Loan crisis, involving the failure of many savings and loan organizations across the United States hit Maryland near the end Hughes' tenure with the run at Old Court Savings and Loans, but nevertheless steps were taken to insure Maryland savings and loans organizations. Hughes served two terms, defeating Republican challenger Robert A. Pascal in 1982, and concluded his governorship in 1987.

In 1986 Hughes and Michael D. Barnes unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Charles "Mac" Mathias. They lost to Barbara Mikulski, who went on to win the general election.[6]

Later career

Hughes was a member of the Chesapeake Bay Trust from 1995 to 2003; a member of the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland from 1996 to 2000; the chairman of the Blue Ribbon Citizens Pfiesteria Commission in 1997; the chairman of the Maryland Appellate Judicial Nominating Commission from 1999 to 2003; and a member of the Committee to Establish the Maryland Survivors Scholarship Fund from 2001 to 2002.

He published an autobiography in 2006.


  1. ^ "Harry R. Hughes Biographical Series; Governor of Maryland, 1979-87 (Democrat)". Archives of Maryland, MSA SC 3520-1488. Maryland State Government. 21 February 2001. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  2. ^ Harry R. Hughes biography. December 9, 1998. Maryland State Archives. accessed October 25, 2004.
  3. ^ "Governor Harry R. Hughes and the Hughes Collection at the Maryland State Archives". Maryland State Archives. Retrieved May 30, 2017. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Air Corps and completed a year and a half tour of duty.
  4. ^ Evans, John (January 21, 2010). "Former Gov. Harry Hughes wife Patricia dies at 79". The Star Democrat. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  5. ^ Baseball’s Eastern Shore League, article by Brent Lewis in What's Up. Archived 2010-06-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Silverman, Mike (September 10, 1986). "Female Candidates Win Primaries". The Argus-Press. Owosso, Michigan. Associated Press. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
Political offices
Preceded by
Marvin Mandel
Governor of Maryland
January 17, 1979 – January 21, 1987
Succeeded by
William Donald Schaefer
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