Who Is Doug Hughes, Man Who Landed Gyrocopter On Capitol Lawn?
Doug Hughes landed a gyrocopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday afternoon, risking his life to send a political message.
Who Is Doug Hughes?
Hughes, 61, is a mailman from Florida who has been flying gyrocopters for the last year. A married man and a father to four children, Hughes grew up in California before joining the Navy. He settled into his job as a mailman in Florida more than a decade ago, according to his website, The Democracy Club.
Following the loss of a son to suicide over two years ago, Hughes began to plot his stunt. His son’s tragic death inspired him to take a greater stance on political issues that he felt were top priorities, according to The Tampa Bay Times. The cause he ultimately decided to champion was campaign finance reform, attempting to deliver 535 letters, one for each member of congress, to the Capitol Building.
— Ron Brackett (@rontimes) April 15, 2015
“I’m demanding reform and declaring a voter’s rebellion in a manner consistent with Jefferson’s description of rights in the Declaration of Independence,” Hughes wrote in his letters. “As a member of Congress, you have three options. 1. You may pretend corruption does not exist. 2. You may pretend to oppose corruption while you sabotage reform. 3. You may actively participate in real reform.”
“No sane person would do what I’m doing,” Hughes recently admitted to the Tampa Bay Times. Risking his life in his efforts, Hughes flew through protected airspace. Hughes was aware that his best case scenario would likely involve the loss of his job and a prison sentence. In order to prevent his family from being implicated in his plot, he did not inform them of the details.
U.S. Capitol Police arrested Hughes Wednesday and charged him under Title 49 of U.S. Code. He was later transferred to the central cellblock in Washington, D.C. The FAA and Secret Service agents are investigating.