Back to former Iowa governors
Harold Everett Hughes

Gov. Harold Everett Hughes

  • January 17, 1963 - January 1, 1969
  • Democratic
  • February 10, 1922
  • October 23, 1996
  • Iowa
  • State University of Iowa
  • Married Eva Mae Mercer; three children
  • Resigned
  • Senator
  • Army


HAROLD EVERETT HUGHES, Iowa’s thirty-sixth governor, was born in Ida Grove, Iowa on February 10, 1922. He attended the University of Iowa on a football scholarship, but left school after his first year to get married. During World War II, he served as an Army combat rifleman in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. After his military service, Hughes worked in the transportation business, and founded the Iowa Better Trucking Bureau. Hughes entered politics in 1959, serving as a member of the Iowa State Commerce Commission, a position he held three years. Hughes won the 1962 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was sworn into the governor’s office on January 17, 1963. He was reelected to a second term in 1964, and to a third term in 1966. During his tenure, a state scholarship program was instituted; an agricultural tax credit was issued; a state civil rights commission was created; a property tax replacement bill was passed; an educational radio-television system was implemented; and workmen’s and unemployment compensation laws were improved. Also, additional state funding for school aid was sanctioned; a consumer safeguard bill was authorized; and the death penalty was eliminated. On January 1, 1969, Hughes resigned from office, to take his seat in the U.S. Senate, an office he held until 1975. Hughes, who had his own personal battle with alcoholism, served as chairman of the Harold Hughes Centers for Alcoholism and Drug Treatment. Governor Harold E. Hughes passed away on October 23, 1996.



Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Governors of the American States, Commonwealths, and Territories, National Governors' Conference, 1967.

Missouri Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Recent Iowa Governors