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Name: McHugh, John
Current Position: Former Secretary

Fulfilling his promise of appointing Republicans to his administration, President Obama turned to Republican Congressman John M. McHugh to serve as Secretary of the Army. McHugh represented New York’s 23rd Congressional District, which includes the large Fort Drum Army base, as well facilities owned by the nation’s largest defense contractor, Lockheed Martin. McHugh has typically received large campaign donations from Lockheed Martin employees, as well as from employees of other defense contractors, including Boeing and General Dynamics. One recent press report alleges that he placed more than $40 million in “earmarks” into a 2010 defense spending bill, including more than $8 million benefiting Fort Drum, but McHugh has defended those actions as beneficial to his constituents. 

Confirmed by the Senate September 16, 2009, McHugh became the fourth Republican to serve in a high-profile position in the Obama administration, joining Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration. McHugh will also be the second consecutive Army secretary to come from outside the President’s party. In 2007, President George W. Bush appointed Democrat Peter Geren to the post after a scandal involving the mistreatment of veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. 
McHugh was born on September 29, 1948, in Watertown, New York, and now lives in the nearby hamlet of Pierrepont Manor, within the town of Ellisburg.  He graduated from Watertown High School and then became the first member of his family to attend college, earning a B.A. in Political Science from Utica College in 1970 and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Graduate School of Public Affairs at the State University of New York at Albany in 1977. 
McHugh has served at all levels of government—local, state and national—starting his career as an assistant to Watertown’s city manager from 1971 to 1977.  He then served as an aide to State Senator H. Douglas Barclay from 1977 until 1984, when he was elected to succeed him.  He served as a member of the State Senate for eight years, until his election to Congress in 1992, when he was elected to replace Congressman David O’Brien Martin in the 24th district. The district was renumbered the 23rd district after the 2000 census.  McHugh has run successfully for reelection eight times with no substantive opposition, even running unopposed in 2002. McHugh was the only one of New York’s eight Republican incumbents to win more than 60% in 2006. The other seven were either defeated or were held below 60% by their Democratic challengers. McHugh defeated Mike Oot for congressional re-election in 2008, garnering 65% of the vote. 
In the House, McHugh was chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Post Office Subcommittee for six years, and worked to pass the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, which significantly reformed the Postal Service for the first time since it was demoted from a Cabinet-rank department in 1971. He was a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 2005 to 2007. Most recently, McHugh was the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.  He serves on the Board of Visitors for the United States Military Academy at West Point. 
Politically, McHugh is generally described as a moderate Republican, an endangered species within the party, although still rather common in Northeastern states like New York. Conservative on social issues, McHugh opposes abortion rights, same-sex marriage and funding for embryonic stem-cell research.  On economics issues, however, he has broken with his party in recent years by opposing the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), voting to increase the federal minimum wage and in favor of an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or S-CHIP. McHugh supported the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan and has made numerous visits to both theater. 
The expansive 23rd District, like the upstate New York region generally, has traditionally voted Republican but has trended in a Democratic direction recently.  This part of Upstate New York has historically been Republican at the congressional level, but has recently become more competitive in presidential elections. The district (and its predecessors) has been in Republican hands continuously since 1871, and some parts of the district have not been represented by a Democrat since 1851. Nevertheless, President Obama won 52 percent of the vote against John McCain, and the neighboring 20th District has been represented by a Democrat since 2006. Democrats believe they have a chance to win the seat, although the Republican candidate, whoever that is, will be favored. If Democrats do flip the seat, only two Republicans would remain in the state’s 29-member House delegation, with redistricting (and the expected loss of one seat) looming after the 2010 Census. 
McHugh is divorced from his wife, the former Katherine Sullivan.  He was voted one of the 50 most beautiful people on Capitol Hill by The Hill magazine in 2006.
Pick for Army Chief Pushed Defense Earmarks (by Jim McElhatton, Washington Times)
Obama to Name N.Y. Congressman the Army Secretary (by Carl Hulse, New York Times)
McHugh Moves Into Spotlight (by Eugene Mulero, Roll Call)
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