Mary Hughes is a cofounder and president of Hughes & Company, a strategic communications and political consulting firm in Palo Alto, California.
She is the founder and director of The 2012 Project, a national, nonpartisan campaign of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Its purpose is to increase the number of women in Congress and state legislatures by taking advantage of newly drawn and created districts resulting from redistricting and reapportionment.
Hughes has advised candidates for President, Congress, and state and legislative office positions. Her work has contributed to a number of groundbreaking "firsts," including the first woman in U.S. history to lead her party in Congress, the first woman to become superintendent of schools in California, and the first open lesbian judge to be elected in the nation.
She is a contributor to the Governors Guidebook series Keys to the Governor's Office and Win the Right Way, a collection of essays on political strategy. Hughes, a former executive director of the California Democratic Party, has published op-eds and book reviews related to American politics in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Huffington Post, and other publications. She is also an Emerge California "Woman of the Year."
Hughes is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and Mt. Holyoke College. She lives with her husband in Palo Alto, California.