Not too many publications would write about the passing of a former County Road Foreman, well James Doyle Hughes Sr. wasn't just a road supervisor, Hughes was a giant in the Harlan County political scene and the people of Harlan will miss him. There will be a void that will never be filled, and I mean never, we have just witnessed a total end to an era with his passing. I watched him work and when I took my bite at the political apple I emulated him, and it worked. I never wanted to be fishing buddies with Jimmy Doyle (even though I viewed him as a 3rd Father) all I wanted was his respect and I would like to think I achieved that.
To say that having Jimmy Doyle on your side, on election day, was important was a massive understatement. Hughes could bully his way through an election and produce what many couldn't; votes. I knew Jimmy Doyle Hughes personally for most of my life. He was a tall, loud, intimidating man who had a fuse about 2 millimeters long. He also had a giant heart, it was commonplace for Jimmy Doyle to give hundreds if not thousands upon thousands of dollars to those who were down on their luck, he did this out of the most basic of human emotions; compassion. We must honor and remember a man who did so much for the community even though 99% of the people in his community had no idea he did those things.
Hughes ran for the 5th District Magistrate seat in Harlan County in 2006 and sadly the political system he ruled with an iron fist turned on him and that was really the last time I got to witness the man in action. I stole from the man, I stole his political demeanor and hard-nose political style. Politically, I am a Jimmy Doyle Hughes clone in many ways. You see, or read, his style on this weblog every single day. I recognized that confidence was the most important attribute a politico must have, a hard nosed confidence.
And for a man who had a "real" chance to play for the New York Yankees back in his youth, yes those Yankees, I was very glad to see that the people of his community recognized the man for what he was and will always be; a giant. I guarantee you this, Jimmy Doyle Hughes will never he forgotten in Harlan County. Now you can write that in your Bible and take that to the bank; did you get that Hollywood?