Matt Hughes has been involved in public service, Democratic politics, and progressive causes for over a decade. Matt was raised in Hillsborough, attended Orange County Public Schools, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Carolina Covenant Scholar. He currently works with the Forward Cities, a non-profit focused on developing entrepreneurial ecosystems, and recently graduated with a Master of Public Administration from UNC’s School of Government.
Growing up, Matt faced a number of challenges. He was a delayed speaker, but through Head Start, he was able to receive speech treatments. Communicating was a challenge for Matt, but because of Governor Hunt’s program, he learned how to verbally communicate and entered kindergarten on par with his peers.
Because of Head Start, Matt has been committed to helping the next generation succeed. That’s why he served on a School Improvement Team as well as the Raising Achievement and Closing the Gaps (RACG) Oversight Committee for Orange County Public Schools. This was his opportunity to work for positive change in the Orange County Public Schools by working with school board members, fellow members of the public, and district administration to ensure that District was meeting its obligations to all students and guaranteeing that we work ardently to reduce and eliminate the disparities we see in education outcomes.
Matt has served as the Second Vice Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party since 2017, having previously served as the Chair of the Orange County Democratic Party from 2011 to 2017. Through collaboration and forward thinking and planning, Matt has turned the Orange County Democratic Party into an organized, well run operation. Matt’s commitment to grassroots politics is evident and was recently observed by the Independent Weekly: “Party leaders have credited [Matt] Hughes with increasing voter turnout in past elections.”
Matt was appointed to a vacancy on the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners and was sworn in on April 9, 2018 by State Senator Valerie Foushee. Believing that people should be active members of their community, Matt serves on several non-profit and local government advisory boards and serves as one of Governor Roy Cooper’s appointees on the North Carolina Human Relations Commission. Matt grew up all over Hillsborough, including West Hillsborough and Gateway Village. Today he lives in Waterstone. When taking a break from politics, Matt enjoys cheering on the Carolina Tar Heels. Matt lives with his partner Kevin and their bearded dragon and Black Labrador named Chloe and Charlotte, respectively.
Matt has worked with the following organizations and agencies:
• Cedar Ridge High School Improvement Team
• Raising Achievement and Closing the Gap Oversight Committee for Orange County Schools
• Orange County Human Relations Commission
• Orange County Democratic Party
• North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Office of the State Superintendent
• NC Child (formerly the NC Child Advocacy Institute)
• North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership
• Kidscope Advisory Council
• New Leaders Council of North Carolina
• Equality North Carolina
• Orange County Board of Adjustment
• Hillsborough Tourism Board
• Hillsborough Tourism Development Authority
• Orange County Solid Waste Advisory Group
• Hillsborough History Museum Board
• Orange County Partnership for Young Children Board of Directors
Memberships include: North Carolina Alliance of Black Elected Officials, Northern Orange Branch of the NAACP, Schley Grange, Young Democrats of North Carolina, and the UNC General Alumni Association.