Mildred Barry Hughes – First Female Member of State Senate

Mildred Barry Hughes

Mildred Barry Hughes (1902-1995)

Jersey gem: Born in Elizabeth

Democrat Mildred Barry Hughes was the first woman to be elected to the New Jersey Senate. When she won the seat in 1965, Hughes was the first Democrat from Union County to be elected to the Senate in 75 years. She was also elected to the Assembly in 1959, 1961, and 1963 and sponsored many successful bills.

Hughes was the first woman to serve on the Assembly Conference Committee, the Governor’s Conference Committee and as an assistant majority leader. She also played an instrumental role in the local suffrage movement. In 1952 Hughes became the editor of the Elizabeth League of Women Voters handbook, “This is Elizabeth”, a 100-page survey of the town’s history, government and local character. She was appointed president of the national Order of Women Legislators (OWL) in 1982.

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