Rep. Buck McKeon
[KHTS] – U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, formally announced Thursday that his 11th term will be his last and endorsed a candidate who doesn’t live in the district to fill his seat.
McKeon was a Hart School District board member and Santa Clarita’s first mayor before running for Congress in 1992 as “a true neophtye,” he said.
“From the time I arrived here (Washington, D.C.), I’ve heard people say you’ll know when it’s time to leave,” McKeon said. “I’ve heard that if you’re walking to the Capitol at night, and the lights gleaming off the dome don’t give you a little shiver of excitement, it’s probably time to pack up and go home.
“Well, it’s still special, every time I walk up the Hill,” he said, “but other things have told me that it’s time to walk away.”
McKeon thanked his constituents, endorsed Tony Strickland from Simi Valley to fill his seat and talked about his proudest accomplishments from nearly 22 years in the House of Representatives.
McKeon recalled the Elsmere Canyon, and other Santa Clarita successes, such as helping communities rebuild after the earthquake and serving veterans.
The Elsmere Canyon landfill would have “reached a height of four statues of liberty high, one on top of the other,” he said, and made the land next to what is now a Disney movie ranch usable.
The dump, which would have been a little more than a half-mile from Highway 14, was halted with legislation introduced in 1996.
“I want to thank the citizens of Santa Clarita, and others in the 25th Congressional District,” McKeon said.
McKeon discussed his first Congressional victory and the road ahead.
“On election night (in 1992), we beat our local Assemblyman and three other candidates by about 700 votes,” McKeon said. “I found myself on the way to Washington, D.C., to be sworn in.”
The House Armed Services will continue “rigorous oversight” of the Afghan security progress, in light of anticipated troop withdrawal, McKeon said.
The “ongoing effort” to stem sexual assault in the military would also be a priority, he said.
A legislative effort to stop a Cemex mine in the Santa Clarita Valley is expected to be scored shortly by the Congressional Budget Office, he said, and supporting that effort also would be a priority.
McKeon also mentioned working on a bill with Tippi Hedren to address the breeding of exotic animals for commercial purposes as a priority for this year.
“I’m walking away from a long and special chapter in my life,” he said, “and excited to start the next one.”
A representative for Strickland offered the following statement after McKeon’s announcement:
“Buck McKeon has been an inspiration to me personally throughout his congressional career. He has been a mentor and a friend and has built a record of achievement that is unmatched for our area. I commend him for his service,” Strickland said.
“Since rumors of Chairman McKeon’s possible retirement began, I have been encouraged by numerous friends, supporters and local leaders to run for Congress in the 25th Congressional District should he retire. Now that it is official, I will speak with my family and announce my intentions soon. Today should be about Chairman McKeon and honoring his record of service to our nation.”