William John Hughes (October 17, 1932 – October 30, 2019) was an American politician and diplomat who served as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1995, representing New Jersey's Second Congressional District which includes major portions of the Jersey Shore and Pine Barrens, the cities of Vineland and Atlantic City, and the counties of Salem, Cumberland, Atlantic, Cape May and part of Gloucester. After retiring from Congress in 1995, Hughes was appointed by President Bill Clinton as United States Ambassador to Panama, a post he held until October, 1998 leading up to the historic turnover of the Panama Canal to Panamanian control.During his tenure in Congress, Hughes was a member of the House Judiciary Committee, where he chaired the Subcommittee on Crime (1981–1990) and the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property and Judicial Administration (1991–1994). Hughes also served on the House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, which had jurisdiction over numerous issues of importance to his coastal district. Hughes was one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1986 to conduct impeachment proceedings against District Court Judge Harry E. Claiborne of Nevada. Before being elected to Congress, Hughes served for 10 years as First Assistant Prosecutor in Cape May County 1960-70. His Congressional Papers are housed at the Rutgers University Libraries Special Collections and University Archives.