Karen Hughes was born in Paris, France to American parents, Pat and Hal Parfitt. Her father was a U. S Army General and the last U. S. Governor of Panama Canal Zone. Her family traveled extensively, while she and her sister Beverley were children, due to her father’s career. She graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1977 with an interest in journalism. From 1977 to 1984 Mrs. Hughes worked as a reporter for KXAS-TV (NBC affiliate) in Dallas. She met and married attorney Jerry Hughes in 1983, becoming an instant mother to his nine year-old daughter, Leigh. The following year she left her full-time television job to concentrate on her family and dabble in politics. Nearly five years later, in 1987, their son Robert was born.
In 1980, while still a reporter, Karen covered Mr. Reagan’s first election campaign. This experience piqued her interest in politics. When Reagan ran for re-election in 1984, she became the Texas press coordinator for his campaign. In 1994, Mrs. Hughes became the Dallas based campaign coordinator for George W. Bush’s gubernatorial race in Texas. Once elected as President, Karen became President Bush’s counselor. She took a leave of absence from 2002 to 2004 during which time she wrote her book Ten Minutes From Normal.
In 2004, she returned to the Bush White House to help set up the Republican National Convention and assist with the remainder of Bush’s re-election campaign. In 2005, the Senate confirmed Mrs. Hughes nomination, by President Bush, to become the Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy with the rank of Ambassador. In 2007 she chose to resign her position in favor of her family.
Mrs. Hughes’ husband and her son had moved to Washington D. C from Texas to be with Karen while she assisted President Bush. Now it was time for her to do the same for them. Upon announcing her resignation Karen stated, ” My husband and I have made a difficult, but we think right, decision to move our family home to Texas.”
Here is a woman who finally realized that her family meant more to her than her “career” and that her precious family-time was slipping away. Karen wanted to recapture some of what she had sacrificed, while in pursuit of her career, before it was lost forever. This admirable woman chose to give-up her “fabulous feminist” career because she wanted to spend more time with her 15-year-old son, before he went away to college.
Today, Karen continues to be a political consultant but is also the proud grandmother to her step-daughter Leigh’s little girl, Lauren. Mrs. Hughes remains an Elder in her Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. She teaches Sunday School and is also a member of a Bible Study Group. She often said that it helped to know that her church continued to pray for her, as she undertook the enormous challenges, in Washington, D.C.
Karen Hughes is an inspiration to all young women, who are under pressure from radical, second-wave feminism, to choose career, over family. Don’t do it. You may very well, live to regret it.