Doug Hughes


(This San Diego-resident writer conducted a Skype interview with Florida-based Douglas Hughes on December 28, 2015, the same day Hughes was interviewed on Fox Cable Television News.)



Douglas Hughes is the intrepid gyrocopter pilot who, early in 2015, delivered a money-message to each and every member of congress by landing his whirlybird on the lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. This singular feat of skill and daring is encapsulated in a joint, IFZ-Musical SoCal video, listed on YouTube as, Superhero Autogyro. The message from the flight is contained in a letter individually address to each of the 535 members of congress, exhorting them immediately to take up the matter of the excessive influence of money in politics Floridian Hughes now intends to return to D.C. – but in considerably less spectacular fashion.


Doug Hughes is set to challenge the congressional seat of Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz who, not coincidentally, happens to be the Chair of the Democratic National Committee.


During the waning days of the year just passed, Doug Hughes appeared on Fox Cable News. He furthered his case of rooting out excess money in politics and confirmed the fact that he is challenging Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her congressional seat. Hughes acknowledges that his approach is from the Left, in a gerrymandered district, and that whoever wins the Democratic primary would be a practical shoo-in in November. To further his case against Wasserman Schultz, Hughes claims that she is a bad money-manager for the Democratic Committee; whereas the Republicans are well in the black, the Democrats are deep in the red. He also indicates his dissatisfaction with the way Wasserman Schultz has been limiting Democratic candidates' debates. Hughes indicates that his approach to getting excess money out of politics is even-handed and that, if elected, he would endeavor to establish a congressional, bipartisan caucus, and institute a pledge comprehensively to attack the undue influence of money in politics.


Doug Hughes says his truncated Fox News interview did not allow him fully to explain the congressional pledge idea. He says his intention is to turn the tables on the utilization of gerrymandered congressional districts. Instead of allowing those districts to wallow in the one-sided concerns of a single party, he intends for his bipartisan pledge to unseat both Republican and Democratic pro-money candidates. In other words, anti-money candidates from both parties would attempt to primary the pro-monies in all such vulnerable districts, throughout the country.


On April 2, 2016, Doug Hughes will join the Democracy Spring march, from Independence Square in Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. The purpose of the march is to take a message to Congress, in order to admonish them to take immediate steps to end the corruption of money in politics and ensure fair elections, so that all Americans will have an equal voice in their government. In Washington, there will be large, passive and peaceful demonstrations of sit-ins. Arrests from massive acts of civil disobedience are expected.



Doug Hughes in court


Also, in April, Doug Hughes will come up for sentencing for his unprecedented mail delivery to Congress. Curiously, his gyrocopter has been confiscated by the court. The most serious charges have been dropped, leaving, flying without a pilot's license, as the only charge, and a guilty plea has been entered thereto. What remains is the possibility of incarceration for ten months or probation. Hughes maintains that his campaign against Debbie Wasserman Schultz will go forward, jail or no jail.


When the tricky question of how this big-money-out-of-politics crusader intended to finance his own campaign very gingerly was put to Douglas Hughes, the response was predictably off-beat – talk radio! Hughes plans to extend the nonpartisan approach he has in mind for Congress to the acquisition of funds to get him there. After contact with a local, Right Wing, radio talk-show host, Hughes is convinced that the big-money contamination in both major parties has become so onerous that a bipartisan pitch to both Right and Left radio should be sufficient to garner the funds he needs to fight for the cause.


Douglas Hughes was born in Redwood City, California, in 1953. He is one of seven siblings. His primary and secondary schooling was Catholic. The family reaction to his notoriety is spotty. The only trace to his political-activist motivation seems to be gene-related. His mother was head of the City Planning Commission, and subsequently became involved in seemingly every other civic organization she encountered. Doug's wife and young daughter are hanging with him on this wild ride, which has slammed them smack into the door of penury. It was reported that, after the loss of Doug's 13-year Postal Service job, the family had required the assistance of food stamps.


When asked about the activist burr under his saddle, Doug Hughes explains that when he started paying attention to politics, he became incensed at the insensitivity of the Right Wing. That led to his becoming a blogger. He noticed a recurrence of the same hindrance to solving problems – money in politics. Hughes says he became aware of a common strain within the forces that were blocking solutions to problems such as, global warming; the Keystone Pipeline; education; senior citizens' and veterans' issues; etc. That commonality, he maintains, always was money and politics.


All of this frustration led to an idea that took Douglas Hughes along a winding path of imagination, inquiry, realization and action, which culminated in his delicate, dragon fly-like manifestation upon the front lawn of the nation that he so clearly cherishes. Originally, says Doug, he was looking for the pilot of a fixed-wing plane to deliver his precious cargo. From the beginning, he was aware that it requires drama to shake up things. Although his father was a private pilot, Doug himself had never learned to fly. Then it became clear to him that the search for a pilot to do the deed probably would shut down the action before it (so to speak) got off the ground. Deciding that he would have to be the pilot, Doug began his search for a fixed-wing, ultra-light. In the process, he came across a gyrocopter, the likes of which he had thought to be out of existence. What ensued was a project of negotiation, purchase, repair and training, of which he could not have conceived when he woke up on that last, just-before morning.


Discarding all of the dramatic folderol, Douglas Hughes says his mission is simple and unique: Get toxic money out of politics. He maintains that if this generation achieves that lofty goal, it would be a lifetime satisfaction for him. Hughes is convinced that if the bad-money problem is resolved, and if participation is open to all, the system can handle the rest.


Douglas Hughes succinctly expresses his philosophy on the money and politics question thusly:


The problem of money in politics cannot be solved by Democrats alone; it cannot be solved by Republicans alone. This can happen only if Americans from both sides of the spectrum come together to solve this one problem, upon which we both agree.




Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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