Hugh Mitchell (politician)

Hugh Burnton Mitchell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1949  January 3, 1953
Preceded by Homer Jones
Succeeded by Thomas Pelly
United States Senator
from Washington
In office
January 10, 1945  December 25, 1946
Preceded by Monrad Wallgren
Succeeded by Harry P. Cain
Personal details
Born (1907-03-22)March 22, 1907
Great Falls, Montana
Died June 10, 1996(1996-06-10) (aged 89)
Seattle, Washington
Political party Democratic

Hugh Burnton Mitchell (March 22, 1907  June 10, 1996), an American politician, served as a member of the United States Senate from 1945 to 1946 and as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1949 to 1953. He represented the state of Washington. He left Dartmouth College and the class of 1930 in 1929 when the Great Crash hit. He traveled to Washington State and a job as a sports reporter in 1929, but the political reporter for the Everett News was removed to prevent bias, as she was involved with the Mayor. Mitchell took over the political beat and, assessing the changing political climate, was among the first if not the first in the area to predict Franklin Roosevelt's victory as President in 1932.

Mitchell, a Democrat, was appointed on January 10, 1945 to fill a vacancy in the Senate caused by the resignation of Monrad Wallgren, who Mitchell had been executive assistant to since 1933. He proposed extending the Marshal Plan to Asia, seeing economic and infrastructure development as critical to the development of democracy. This was defeated on budget grounds by Republican adversaries, setting the stage for Truman's dependence on military containment of communist expansion, and the readmission of France to Viet Nam after World War II as a part of containment. He did not win re-election in 1946, and resigned on December 25, 1946 to give his successor seniority in committee assignments important to Washington State.

In 1948, Mitchell won election to the House of Representatives in the First Congressional District. He won his bid for re-election in 1950. He proposed integrated resource planning for the Columbia River Valley, adding fish and watershed management to irrigation and power production. This was defeated by a coalition of industrial and bureaucratic interests, including irrigation and power production private concerns and the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Land Management, whose authority and budgets were threatened. In 1952, Mitchell did not run for re-election, instead running for Governor of Washington to pursue state development including Columbia River Valley integrated resource development. He was unsuccessful in that election, as well as in his candidacies for the House of Representatives in 1954 and 1958. He was later appointed by President Carter to the Presidential Commission on Japanese Internment during World War II. This Commission considered that Constitutional guarantees had been violated by internment and recommended reparation to those affected.

Mitchell was known as a reformer while in Congress and helped expose the scandal surrounding the sale of World War II surplus property.[1]


  1. "Hugh Burnton Mitchell, Former Senator". Orlando Sun Sentinel. 13 June 1996. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
United States Senate
Preceded by
Monrad Wallgren
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Washington
January 10, 1945 December 25, 1946
Served alongside: Warren G. Magnuson
Succeeded by
Harry P. Cain
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Homer Jones
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Thomas Pelly
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Joseph H. Ball
Youngest Member of the United States Senate
January 18, 1945 – August 26, 1945
Succeeded by
William F. Knowland
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