Senator Vincent J. Hughes is a leading progressive voice on local, state, and national issues. He was elected by his colleagues in 2010 to be the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He has been a member of the Pennsylvania Senate for over 20 years, first elected to represent the 7th Senatorial District in 1994. Senator Hughes served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1987 to 1994. During that time, he was the chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus from 1991 to 1994.
As a key member of the Democratic leadership team in the Senate, Senator Hughes has been a champion on major policy issues such as expanding healthcare for low-income workers, raising the minimum wage, defending the right to vote, fighting for increased funding for public education, and rebuilding PA’s distressed communities. As Democratic Chairman of Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Hughes also plays a major role in developing Pennsylvania’s annual budget of over $30 billion and guiding the state’s spending priorities.
Senator Hughes was a leader in the fight for the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Pennsylvania. The centerpiece and final part of this struggle was the successful implementation of Medicaid Expansion, which is providing health insurance to over 500,000 low income working people who previously could not afford to purchase coverage on their own.
Senator Hughes has recently received national attention for his bold proposal for universal voter registration. Under his legislation, all eligible individuals who interact with state government—such as getting a driver’s license, access social services, or obtain a hunting permit— would automatically be added to the voter rolls This unique bill goes further than any other legislation in the country to expand the right to vote and increase voter participation.
Senator Hughes has also been recognized both locally and nationally for his work on HIV/AIDS, and the challenges of mental/behavioral health in the African-American community. His commitment to creating access to college is demonstrated through his service on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and the Cheyney University Council of Trustees. Senator Hughes and his family have also established the James Hughes Memorial Scholarship Fund in honor of his late father. The fund has given out more than $1 million in scholarships to over 400 students.
In all of his work, which has taken him across the state and around the world, Senator Hughes is staunchly committed to the progress of his 7th Senatorial District, which encompasses portions of Philadelphia and Montgomery County. Senator Vincent Hughes is a member of the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, and is supported by his loving wife, actress, entertainer and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph, and their blended family of four children.