State Senator Vincent Hughes is one of Pennsylvania’s leading Democratic voices on local, state, and national issues. First as a State Representative and now as a State Senator, he has fought tirelessly for investments and progress in education, affordable housing, healthcare, gun violence prevention, mental health, voting rights, and much more.
In 2010, his colleagues elected him to be the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee to craft PA’s state budget of $45B, one of the most important legislative responsibilities in PA government.
Throughout his career as an elected official, Senator Hughes has made improving issues in education one of his top priorities. He is the recognized and accepted legislative leader in PA’s fight to adapt a constitutional and adequately funded K-12 education funding formula. He has successfully introduced, passed, and funded legislation to create and implement PA’s Diverse Teacher Pipeline program. And as a champion for literacy, Senator Hughes created the Read 2 Succeed program, which has helped thousands of PA teachers, students, and families in their effort to attain grade level reading.
Senator Hughes works hard for K-12 students and those who are seeking higher education. As a leader in the fight for free and affordable college, he introduced the PA Promise legislation, which provides grants to PA students to afford college.
As a champion for voting rights, Senator Hughes introduced legislation for Automatic Voter Registration in all state activities, which has since been adapted into AVR for all PA residents obtaining driver licenses and ID cards with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
Senator Hughes also engineered the adaption of PA’s Constitutional Amendment banning discrimination based on race.
Senator Hughes has a long record of many more accomplishments, some of which include:
- Creating the Breaking the Silence program in 1995, which continues to address the issues of stigma in behavioral health, especially in African American Communities
- Leading PA’s fight to increase the minimum wage in 2007
- Leading PA’s expansion into full implementation of the Affordable Care Act which provided health insurance to 1 million PA residents
- Creating PA’s Small Business Grant Program, which provided over $300M in grants to micro businesses across PA, with 54% of those dollars going to Historically Disadvantaged Businesses.
- Creating the Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) grant program, which has provided $170M to neighborhood based, grass roots, violence prevention programs, with a specific focus on programs for young people.
- Leading the largest expansion in PA’s affordable and workforce housing programs in PA’s history, growing the investment from $55M to $470M in a 2 year period
- Creating the PA Housing Opportunities Program which has invested $100M in the upgrade of over 3500 affordable housing units, while preventing their gentrification.
He is a member of Cheyney University’s Council of Trustees. He and his family established the James Hughes Memorial Scholarship Fund, in honor of his late father, which has awarded more than $1 million in college scholarships to talented students who have overcome challenges and want to make a positive difference in the world.
Senator Hughes has been recognized both locally and nationally for his work on HIV/AIDS.
Senator Hughes has also traveled to Central America, the former Soviet Union, and to South Africa and Nigeria to address human rights issues.
Though his work has taken him all over Pennsylvania, the U.S., and around the world, Senator Hughes remains extremely dedicated to the progress of his 7th Senatorial District, which is comprised of parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County. He is a member of 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.
2401 North 54th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19131
545 Capitol Building
Senate Box 203007
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3007