31 Comments

Julie...thanks for this lovely essay. My father, Russell Wilson, worked with Harold Hughes when he was Governor and they were dear friends. He recently wrote and published a book about their friendship and their accomplishments. Dad is featured a lot in the PBS documentary and we were so pleased that the film came out shortly after the book. He read your post tonight and was so moved and would like to give you a copy of his book. Please let me know how to get it to you.

Expand full comment
author

Terrific! I’d love to have it. My address: 3131 Fleur Drive, 907, 50321

Expand full comment

thank you so much. I will bring it by and let you know ahead of time.

Expand full comment

This is a power essay today. I learned about Howard Hughes, you and even myself in reading your words. Thank you.

Expand full comment
Jul 22, 2023Liked by Julie Gammack

This is a terrific column. You have named it all, and we have to rally. I agree with many of the names others have listed here, and I certainly would support you, Julie! Press on!

Expand full comment
author

Pat, you are kind but I am of the age where body parts need to replaced and bedtime is 9 p.m. We need young leaders.

Expand full comment

We do need young leaders. You are certainly a role model/coach/mentor with wide contacts and have role in which you can connect to potential future leaders.

Expand full comment
author

my goal is to help people tell their stories. I think the more folks who tell their truths, the better chance we have of building community.

Expand full comment

That is a worthy goal and certainly an important step.

Expand full comment
Jul 22, 2023Liked by Julie Gammack

I so hope Sarah Trone Garriott feels inspired, and called, by this piece! Thanks, Julie!

Expand full comment
author

I loved her Storyteller appearance!

Expand full comment
Jul 22, 2023Liked by Julie Gammack

I enjoyed the stories about Harold Hughes. He was a personal friend of my father, a die-hard Republican farmer until Hughes ran for the Highway Commission, then governor, then senator. Unfortunately, there are very few Democrats left in western Iowa.

Expand full comment

Char has the right idea. “He stopped”

Every little podunk town has a heart and soul,…”He stopped “ would win that, then watch the domino effect!!

Expand full comment

Julie! Goosebumps Goosebumps Goosebumps! Yes! And if it can’t be you, we must find him…yes, I said him….for a reason. Someone with his stature, voice, God and passion for life!

And you co-write his speeches with him, unless he can pull it off, adlibbing by the seat of his pants!

The time is so right!! And you just got a tremendous ball rolling!

Thank you!

Expand full comment

I always liked Gov Hughes. He did a lot for Iowa. We desperately need his kind again! John Norris, Rob Sands, Todd Prichard. someone with small town, rural and big Iowa roots. A big Iowa farmer too. rural votes still can win it for Dems in Iowa. Rural Iowans are apprehensive with a Polk county candidate. Sorry Polk Countyans of which I am one.

Expand full comment

I got to know Harold Hughes as a volunteer working on his Senate campaign as a college student. He understood the ground game of politics quite well, and was sure to thank volunteers as he traveled the state. My story was from Iowa Day at the New York Worlds Fair when the then Governor sat next to me in the brass section of the Monticello High School band as we represented the state. John Norris would (would have?) make a great Governor, and an asset in all 99 counties on the ticket, and so would Rob Sands We have to quit thinking there are enough votes in Polk County.

Expand full comment
Jul 21, 2023Liked by Julie Gammack

Weeping. Perfect, Julie. Gonna pull my socks up and get to wirk!

Expand full comment
Jul 21, 2023Liked by Julie Gammack

Harold Hughes spoke at an Iowa Public Health Association meeting because I asked him too. Jack Kelly said, "How did you get Governor Harold Hughes?". I said. "I asked". I had met him before. He was well received, and many people attended his presentation that morning. I paid his fee and Jack Kelly insisted we pay some more. So I did. He was retired then. He was a great man. He was a great spekaer and he loved God.

Expand full comment

I remember covering Gov./Sen. Hughes moderating a Democratic presidential candidate forum on farm policy at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium in Ames in early 1984. He used his booming voice to cut off Sen. Gary Hart when he went over the alotted time on an answer. George McGovern, Alan Cranston, Fritz Hollings, Ruben Askew and others were among the candidates. But had a vote been taken as to who carried the day, Mr. Hughes might have won hands down.

A few months later, I covered his speech at a junior college in Clinton after I'd changed jobs. His opening line was, "Hi, I'm Harold Hughes, and I'm an alcoholic." A large portion of the audience responded with a resounding, "HI HAROLD!" It was as though I'd walked into an Alcoholics Anonymous convention -- but of course Hughes was hardly anonymous. He made an instant connection with his audience. With that one line, he signaled to folks he was no better and no worse than anyone else.

At the museum I work at in Waterloo, we did an oral history interview with Lynn Cutler, a former county supervisor who ran twice unsuccessfully for Congress but served on the Democratic National Committee and on President Clinton's White House staff. Ms. Cutler said the two people who inspired her most to get into politics were her late husband Henry and Harold Hughes -- whom she compared to Johnny Cash.

It's a very apt comparison. Mr. Hughes appeared as himself in the movie, "Born Again," based on the autobiography of Watergate figure Charles Colson. Dean Jones played Colson. Not sure anyone else could have played Mr. Hughes, except maybe Johnny Cash, who "walked a line' very similar to our former governor and senator.

We don't have too many people, if any, like Harold Hughes on the poltical landscape in Iowa or anywhere else. But we do have a lot of Harold Hills.

Expand full comment
author

I stayed with Hank and Lynn Cutler on many a trip to Waterloo. They even let be bring my dog. Lovely people. I’d love to hear the oral history project with Lynn. Did you capture the Fultons?

Expand full comment

I interviewed Bob for the Courier about the 1968 Democratic National Convention In Chicago, and covered Rachel when she was a county supervisor. Their daughter Sue was a high school classmate. Not sure if others at the museum interviewed them but I’ll check.

Expand full comment

How about Rob Sand, Janet Petersen, Charlotte Hubbell, Sally Petersen, Christy Vilsack, Tom Vilsack, Neil Hamilton, Larry Zimpleman, Alfredo Parrish, or Julie Gammack? I would campaign for any of them!! That list is compiled after a full 5 minutes of thought by someone who is not very much in the know.

Thank you so much for this, Julie! We need to work harder to find another Harold Hughes or Tom Harlingen or Dick Clark. You give me hope.

Expand full comment

I nominate Julie Gammack!

Expand full comment
author

I inhaled and am old

Expand full comment

I want Rob Sand to run for Governor or Tom Vilsack can run again. He is not too old.

Expand full comment

I meant Tom Harkin, of course.

Expand full comment
author

One of a kind, but definitely the real deal.

Expand full comment
founding
Jul 21, 2023Liked by Julie Gammack

Thank you, Julie.

Expand full comment
Jul 21, 2023Liked by Julie Gammack

Zach Wahls!

Expand full comment
Jul 21, 2023Liked by Julie Gammack

“on the way to somewhere else” but he stopped. No Democratic governor had ever stopped there before. It’s a deep red county that dems usually overlook. Little things matter.

Expand full comment