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Robert A. Hurley

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Robert Augustine Hurley August 25, 1895 – May 3, 1968 was an American politician and the 73rd Governor of Connecticut


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Governor of Connecticut
  • 4 Death and legacy
  • 5 References
  • 6 Further reading
  • 7 External links


Hurley, a second generation Irish-American, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut on August 25, 1895 to Robert Emmet and Sabina O'Hara Hurley He attended local public schools and Cheshire Academy He studied at Lehigh University where he worked his way through school as a hod carrier in support of bricklayers1 An accomplished athlete, he was a four-letter man and, as captain of the baseball team, once pitched a no-hit game His nickname at Lehigh was "Scraps"


In 1917, at the advent of America's involvement in World War I, Hurley enlisted in the US Navy and became a radio electrician for the submarine fleet the "pig boats" and on the battleship Pennsylvania After the war, he played professional football and semiprofessional baseball before joining his father's construction firm On January 22, 1925, he married Evelyn Hedberg, a nurse from Bridgeport They had three children2

Hurley then founded his own successful construction and engineering firm of Leverty & Hurley in Bridgeport Wilbur Lucius Cross, Governor of Connecticut at the time, appointed Hurley to the directorship of the Works Progress Administration WPA He had distinguished himself as the federal coordinator during the devastating Hartford flood of 1936 Hurley then went on to become Connecticut's first Public Works Commissioner, where he ferreted out corruption in the state Highway Department and successfully supervised a multimillion-dollar public construction program He held this post from 1937 to 1940, developing a statewide reputation for honesty and integrity Though never having run for public office, he was drafted by New Deal Democrats to run against popular Republican Governor Raymond E Baldwin At a tumultuous Democrat convention at the Taft Hotel in New Haven, Hurley defeated the Old Guard, who had convinced former Governor Cross to enter the race, and won the nomination for governor3

Governor of Connecticutedit

Hurley, was elected the Governor of Connecticut in 1941 He was Connecticut's first Catholic governor after 300 years of Protestant political dominance An enthusiastic supporter of President Franklin D Roosevelt and the New Deal, he successfully set out to reform the state's labor and employment laws and extend electrification to rural areas of the state4 However, other elements of his ambitious reform agenda were stymied by a Republican-controlled General Assembly After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he quickly mobilized the war production effort and forged a labor-management agreement called "Connecticut's Compact for Victory" that achieved a "no strike pledge" from labor for the unknown duration of the war, and gave the governor sole authority to arbitrate labor disputes during the conflict The compact became a national model A fierce opponent of discrimination, he developed a national reputation by integrating housing in the Connecticut National Guard Hurley also named the first Jewish judges to the Connecticut bench He ran unsuccessfully for re-election He left office on January 6, 1943 He again ran unsuccessfully for governor again in 1944

After completing his term, Hurley was active in the Democrat National Committee and was appointed by President Franklin D Roosevelt to be a member of the Surplus Property Board from 1944 to 1945 He then retired from public life

Death and legacyedit

Hurley died on May 3, 1968 He is interred at Fairview Cemetery, West Hartford, Connecticut Hurley Hall at the University of Connecticut and at Cheshire Academy are named for him5


  1. ^ "Robert A Hurley" Connecticut State Library Retrieved December 17, 2012 
  2. ^ "Robert A Hurley" NNDB Soylent Communications Retrieved December 17, 2012 
  3. ^ "Robert A Hurley" The Political Graveyard Retrieved December 17, 2012 
  4. ^ "Robert A Hurley" National Governors Association Retrieved December 17, 2012 
  5. ^ "Robert A Hurley" Connecticut State Library Retrieved December 17, 2012 

Further readingedit

  • Sobel, Robert and John Raimo Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789–1978 Greenwood Press, 1988 ISBN 0-313-28093-2
  • Hartford Courant, Connecticut Goes To War, December 7, 1991
  • Obituary, The New Haven Register, May 5, 1968
  • Obituary, The New York Times, May 5, 1968

External linksedit

  • NNDB Soylent Communication
  • The Political Graveyard
  • National Governors Association
  • Find A Grave
  • Connecticut State Library

Political offices
Preceded by
Raymond E Baldwin
Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
Raymond E Baldwin

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