Metro Council President Tom Hughes was sworn into office Jan. 4, 2011. Elected regionwide, the president presides over the Metro Council, sets its policy agenda and appoints all members of Metro committees, commissions and boards.
Tom Hughes was born and raised in Hillsboro, Ore. After graduating from Hillsboro High School, he earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Oregon and then went on to earn his master’s degree, also in history, from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Tom decided to pursue a career as a teacher, and, after receiving a teaching certificate from Portland State University, he taught government and history at Aloha High School for 30 years.
Tom’s first experience serving in elective office began in 1976, when he won a seat on the city council of his hometown, Hillsboro, which is the fifth largest city in Oregon. He served on the council, Hillsboro’s planning commission and served as a member of Hillsboro’s planning and zoning hearings board and Hillsboro High School’s budget committee.
Tom was elected mayor of Hillsboro in 2001. Under his leadership, the city made significant investments in community infrastructure, building the nation’s first Gold LEED certified city hall, the Civic Center, opening the new main branch of the Hillsboro Public Library, and creating the Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center.
Tom worked to attract new business investment to Hillsboro, traveling extensively, and his efforts contributed to Hillsboro winning new facilities such as SolarWorld, the Pacific University Health Professions Campus, the Intel developmental facility and a Genentech facility. Also during Tom’s tenure, city government became more responsive to residents, with more services being made available on the Internet and the broadcasting of city council meetings.
As mayor, Tom helped lead Hillsboro’s efforts to engage with regional government on issues such as land use, planning and transportation, and he provided leadership on these issues to officials in other area cities. Tom chaired the Metro Policy Advisory Committee that advises the Metro Council on issues such as land use and planning, and served on Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, which coordinates regional transportation projects with the federal government. In addition, Tom served as president of the League of Oregon Cities and received a Certificate of Achievement in Leadership from the League.
Hillsboro voters overwhelmingly re-elected Tom in 2005, with 72 percent of the vote. He had served as Hillsboro’s mayor for eight years when he stepped down in 2009. Tom currently serves on the Governor’s Green Jobs Council.
Tom and his wife Gayle have lived in Hillsboro for 40 years and have two daughters, Kristen and Karen. In addition to his public service, Tom dedicates part of his spare time to volunteer community service, serving on the boards of the Community Action Agency of Washington County and the Hillsboro Community Foundation, and as a member of the Rotary Club and the local Chamber of Commerce. In 2009, Tom’s contributions to his community were recognized by the City of Hillsboro, which renamed the plaza at city hall in his honor, and also by the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, which named him their distinguished citizen for 2009.