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George H. Hodges

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George Hartshorn Hodges
Portrait of George H. Hodges.jpg
19th Governor of Kansas
In office
January 13, 1913 – January 11, 1915
LieutenantSheffield Ingalls
Preceded byWalter R. Stubbs
Succeeded byArthur Capper
Member of the Kansas Senate
In office
Personal details
BornFebruary 6, 1866
Orion, Wisconsin
DiedOctober 7, 1947(1947-10-07) (aged 81)
Kansas City, Missouri
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Ora May Murray
Professionbusinessman, politician

George Hartshorn Hodges (February 6, 1866 – October 7, 1947) was an American politician and the 19th Governor of Kansas (1913–1915).


Hodges was born in Orion, Wisconsin in Richland County. His family moved to Olathe, Kansas, when he was three years old.[1] He received his education in the public schools. He married Ora May Murray and they had two children.


Hodges had a successful career as a businessman with holdings in the lumber, hardware, and the loan industries, as well as owning a newspaper, the Johnson County Democrat.[2]

Hodges was elected to the Olathe City Council in 1896, serving alongside his brother, Mayor Frank Hodges. George Hodges was elected to one term as Mayor of Olathe after his four year as a city councilman.[3]

Hodges served in the state legislature as a senator from 1905 to 1913, where he was particularly active on the railroad committee in the senate and known for leading the charge for progressive laws for the state of Kansas.[4]

He was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for governor in 1910 and was elected governor in 1912, defeating Republican Arthur Capper by 23 votes in the closest election in Kansas history.[5]

In his January 14, 1913 State of the State Address, Hodges called for equal suffrage for women, the direct election of U.S. Senators, closed primary elections, to allow taxation on mortgages held by non-residents of Kansas on property owned in Kansas, repeal of the inheritance law, expansion of the state's mileage of permanent dirt roads, an overhaul of the state's grain inspection law, new child labor laws, new employment safety laws, a review of proposals for the state to publish school textbooks, the reduction of contingency funds for statewide officeholders excluding the state attorney general, giving the state new powers over river beds, the merger of the state livestock sanitary commissioner into Kansas State University and an elected state labor commissioner with additional powers.[6]

Hodges also used his inaugural address to call for four amendments to the state constitution:[7]

  • Permitting statewide initiative and referendum
  • Permitting recall of elected officials
  • Expanding statewide and county officials terms from two years to four years
  • State aid for road and bridge construction

The administration of Governor Hodges brought the following changes:

  • a corporation tax was sanctioned
  • a women's suffrage amendment to the state constitution was authorized
  • the board of administration was granted power to control all state agencies
  • Control of all state schools was placed under the State Board of Education
  • Repeal of the inheritance tax
  • New power for the Kansas Bureau of Labor
  • Allowed for the state publication of school textbooks
  • New miner safety laws
  • Created a hospital for patients with tuberculous
  • Placed public hospitals under the control of county governments
  • Created the office of prison matron for women's county jails
  • Created the office of divorce proctor
  • women's roles were advanced in state government.[8][9]

On March 10, 1913, he delivered a speech to the Kansas Legislature calling for an overhaul of the Legislature by combining the Kansas House of Representatives and Kansas Senate into a single Legislative Assembly, consisting of one or two members from each congressional district with the governor serving as the presiding officer. He said the size of the Legislature was too large for the state.[10]

Hodges also proposed moving the state from having legislative sessions in odd number years to holding annual legislative sessions, suggesting the biennium procedure caused legislators to rush through their business and not have ample time to study legislation.[11]

Hodges was the last governor of Kansas to serve with a Democratic legislature. After losing his reelection bid, Hodges returned to his various business interests as he had established a successful career as a businessman. He was a member of the State Board of Regents from 1925 to 1927. He also served on the State Textbook Commission.[12]


  1. ^ "George H. Hodges". Blue Skyways. Archived from the original on February 18, 2013. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  2. ^ "George H. Hodges". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  3. ^ "Governor George H. Hodges". Kansas State Historical Society. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  4. ^ "HON. GEORGE H. HODGES". Blue Skyways. Archived from the original on October 9, 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  5. ^ "Governor George H. Hodges". Kansas State Historical Society. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  6. ^ "Governor George H. Hodges State of the State Address". Kansas State Historical Society. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  7. ^ "Governor George H. Hodges State of the State Address". Kansas State Historical Society. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  8. ^ "George H. Hodges". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  9. ^ "Governor George H. Hodges March 17, 1913 Address to the Legislature". Kansas State Historical Society. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  10. ^ "Governor George H. Hodges March 10, 1913 Address to the Legislature". Kansas State Historical Society. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  11. ^ "Governor George H. Hodges March 10, 1913 Address to the Legislature". Kansas State Historical Society. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  12. ^ "George H. Hodges". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 30, 2012.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Jeremiah D. Botkin
Democratic nominee for Governor of Kansas
1910, 1912, 1914
Succeeded by
W. C. Lansdon
Preceded by
George A. Neeley
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Kansas
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
Charles Stephens
Political offices
Preceded by
Walter R. Stubbs
Governor of Kansas
Succeeded by
Arthur Capper
This page was last edited on 25 September 2020, at 09:42
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