Harold Hughes

Harold Hughes

Governor
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Harold Hughes

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Harold Everett Hughes (February 10, 1922 – October 23, 1996) was the 36th Governor of Iowa from 1963 until 1969; he had been a Republican earlier in his life. He also served as a Democratic United States Senator from 1969 until 1975.

Background

Hughes was born in rural Ida County, Iowa. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army, fighting in the North African campaign, and was court-martialed for assaulting an officer. The trial resulted in him being sent to fight in Sicily in 1943. He became sick and another soldier took his place on a landing craft at Anzio. The craft exploded, killing his replacement, Pvt. Walter Thomsen, and many others.

Hughes' interest in politics was stirred by involvement in the trucking industry. He became a manager of a local trucking business, and then began organizing independent truckers. He started the Iowa Better Trucking Bureau and was eventually elected to the State Commerce Commission, which he served from 1958–1962, including a term as its chairman.

Early years

In 1952, his desperation drove him to the brink of suicide. He describes in his book how he climbed into a bathtub (to make the mess easier to clean up) with a shotgun and was ready to pull the trigger, when he experienced what may be called a moment of spiritual enlightenment which was to remain a memorable turning point throughout the remainder of this life, and which led him to deep spiritual commitments. He began to study the Bible diligently, develop his prayer...
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