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Old Ironsides

Guy Hughes (D-TX-2)

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Character Name: Reginald Guy Hughes
Political Party: Democrat
Faction: Progressive
Seat Held: Texas 2nd Congressional District
Date of Birth: August 17, 1933
Place of Birth: Wichita Falls, Texas
Place of Residence: Lufkin, Texas
Race/Ethnicity: White
Gender: Male
Religious Affiliation: Undisclosed
Faction Affiliation: I'd rather not do this at all, but I guess Progressive

Family Information:
Claudia Hughes (formerly Gaines, married in 1962)
James Edward Hughes (Son, born 1968)
Marjorie Anne Hughes (Daughter, born 1970)
Randolph Gaines Hughes (Son, born 1972)
Elizabeth Fiona Hughes (Daughter, born 1974)
Eva Sophia Hughes (Daughter, born 1974) (These last two are twins, obviously)

Educational History: 
Wichita Falls High School (grad. 1950)
BA in History, Midwestern University (grad. 1956)
MA in History, University of Texas (1958)
PhD in History, University of Texas (1963)

Occupational History:
United States Army (1950-1954)
Graduate Student, University of Texas (1956-1963)
Instructor of History, University of Texas (1963-1965)
Assistant Professor of History, Stephen F. Austin University (1965-1969)
Associate Professor of History, Stephen F. Austin University (1969-1975)
Professor of History, Stephen F. Austin University (1975-1982)

Political History:
President of the Angelina County Democrats (1967-1969)
Lufkin City Council (1969-1971)
Texas State Senator, District 3 (1971-1981)
Texas Democratic Party Executive Committee, (1981-1983)
Senior Policy Advisor, Mark White Campaign (1982)
Commissioner, Texas Education Agency (1983-1986)
United States Representative, Texas Second Congressional District (1987-Present)

Publications:
Brown Haze: Health and Disease on the Great Plains (1964)

Guy Hughes was born on August 17, 1933 in Wichita Falls, Texas. His parents had relocated to Wichita Falls from nearby Lawton, Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl, and were still in pursuit of gainful employment at the time of his birth. His childhood was economically destitute until his father found permanent work in the oil fields around Wichita County and his mother opened a daycare center. Despite this difficult background, Hughes excelled in both academics and athletics and planned to enroll at Midwestern University after graduation.

This early foray into academia was cut short, however, by the decision to join the United States Army due to the ongoing Korean War. After basic, he was assigned to the 7th Infantry Division, and in this role participated in the Battle of Seoul and subsequent operations. After the Korean Armistice Agreement, Hughes began taking a series of correspondence courses and laid the plans to return to university. Hughes did not renew his enlistment in 1954.

Returning to Wichita Falls, Hughes doubled down and received his BA in 1956. He was soon after accepted into the University of Texas, where he pursued both his MA and PhD in history. During this time Hughes established himself as an expert on the then growing field of public health history and medical history, and became recognized as a rising academic star.

While at the University of Texas he married Claudia Gaines, who attended UT’s law school. Hughes took an adjunct position at the University of Texas while Gaines finished her law degree, finishing his first academic text (Brown Haze: Health and Disease on the Great Plains) and participating in the civil rights activism that defined the period.

After Claudia’s graduation the two relocated to Lufkin, Texas where he took a tenure-track job at Stephen F. Austin University and Claudia opened a private law practice. Hughes academic career shifted to publishing a series of articles rather than full-length books, and he spent more and more of his time in political activism, specifically advocating for black rights and healthcare reform. This activism brought him into contact with the local Democratic Party establishment, and after two years of volunteer work, Hughes was elected President of the Angelina County Democrats.

In this role, Hughes found himself in the middle of a power struggle between the conservative, segregationist U.S. Representative John Dowdy and his progressive, libertine rival, then-State Senator Charlie Wilson. Hughes became a fully entrenched member of the Wilson camp, and he participated in the larger effort to shift Lufkin away from its segregationist past. This activism and his affiliation with a popular local politician attached a rocket to Hughes’ newly developing political aspirations. Taking advantage of the part-time nature of Texas governing, Hughes joined the Lufkin City Council in 1967 and served for two years.

John Dowdy, who Hughes considered his arch-enemy, was brought down by corruption charges in 1973. Hughes’ ally, Wilson, ascended from the State Senate to the United States House of Representatives, while Hughes was elected to Wilson’s old spot in the State Senate. Hughes established a reputation for health and education advocacy and a broad policy of pursuing state support for local initiatives. After Bill Clements, a Republican, took the Texas Governor’s mansion in 1979, there was an active effort by the Democratic Party to restructure so that they could better reflect the changing political scene. These changes saw Hughes become a member of the Texas Democratic Party’s executive committee and join the campaign staff of Mark White in the 1982 gubernatorial election. After White’s victory, Hughes was appointed as the Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, a position that he held until 1986.

In early 1986, Wilson departed the House of Representatives in order to work as a lobbyist for his foreign policy causes. Hughes took the opportunity to announce his own candidacy for the United States House of Representatives. Hughes easily won the Democratic nomination and the general election. 

 

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