In November 2010, Senator Hughes was elected Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. As the Democratic Chairman, Senator Hughes plays a key role in developing Pennsylvania’s annual budget and establishing the state’s spending priorities. It is the committee’s job to review all legislation considered in the state capital for its financial impact on Pennsylvania’s taxpayers. Prior to attaining his present leadership position, Senator Hughes served as Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, the third highest ranking position, from 2008 to 2010.
Senator Hughes, the dean of the Senate Democratic Caucus, has been a champion on issues that impact directly on PA’s working communities. He helped spearhead efforts to raise the minimum wage and continues to fight to establish a statewide jobs program. Senator Hughes worked in a bi-partisan manner for Pennsylvania’s funding of $20 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to provide assistance to individuals who need assistance with their heating bills. With respect to providing health insurance for Pennsylvania’s uninsured, Senator Hughes has been and continues to be a leader and vocal advocate and sponsored numerous pieces of legislation throughout his entire legislative career.
Senator Hughes has worked tirelessly on major revitalization projects in his district. He has led and been intimately involved in the development of projects such as the Salvation Army Kroc Center of Philadelphia, Bakers Centre retail complex, Please Touch Museum at Memorial Hall, City Avenue Revitalization project, Cira Center, the $50 million Park Town West retail complex and the 500-unit Lucien Blackwell Homes.
Senator Hughes has 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.