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Maryland Manual, 1985-86
Volume 182, Page 19   View pdf image (33K)
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Biographies/19

HARRY HUGHES

Governor of Maryland

Harry Roe Hughes was elected fifty-seventh
Governor of the State of Maryland in 1978 and
was re-elected in 1982. In each of these elections he
received more than 700,000 votes, a total un-
matched by any other gubernatorial candidate in
Maryland history. His 71 percent of the vote in the
1978 election represented the greatest margin of
victory by any contender for the governorship in
this century. In his 1982 re-election, he received 62
percent of the vote and carried Baltimore City and
19 of the state's 23 counties.

Governor Hughes became chief executive after
extensive service in the General Assembly and in
the state cabinet. He had served four years as a
member of the House of Delegates, twelve as a
state senator, and six as Secretary of Transporta-
tion. He assumed the governorship at a critical
time in Maryland history. Public confidence in the
government had been shaken by criminal prosecu-
tion of several elected state officials. In addition, as
reflected by a survey showing the loss of more than
40,000 manufacturing jobs in the mid-1970s, the
state economy had sunk to an advanced stage of
deterioration. Governor Hughes pledged to work
for restoration of public faith in the political
process and to dedicate greater state effort to
revitalizing the economy.

Dramatic changes from the past marked his first
term. Declaring a belief in the supremacy of
principle over personality, he emphasized the role
of the General Assembly as the policy-making arm
of government and the role of the Governor as that
of implementing that policy, initiating proposals on
his own and in partnership with legislative leaders,
and conscientiously exercising his constitutional
budgetary and appointive powers.

Against this background, the first four years of
the Hughes Administration brought dramatic im-
provement in the condition of the state. An
aggressive economic development program was
launched. Citizens and local governments benefit-
ed from the most massive tax relief program ever
undertaken by a Maryland governor and legisla-
ture. To overhaul a long-neglected corrections
system, the biggest prison construction program in
state history was initiated.

In addition, nationally recognized programs
were adopted for the disposal of low-level nuclear
and toxic wastes. One of the most vigorous pro-
grams in the nation was enacted to combat drunk
driving, significantly reducing loss of life on streets
and highways. After several defeats under sponsor-
ship by previous administrations, legislation was
adopted to consolidate an antiquated, politics-

 



 
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Maryland Manual, 1985-86
Volume 182, Page 19   View pdf image (33K)
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