U.S. Rep. John McHugh's probable ascension to secretary of the Army is giving our area a reason to be proud. It's an honor locally for the president to nominate one of our own representatives to such a prominent national post.
McHugh's 23rd congressional district includes Hamilton County and Fulton County, except for Gloversville and the town and city of Johnstown. The Republican, who lives in Pierrepont Manor in Jefferson County, likely will face confirmation hearings this summer.
We hope he wins easy and rapid bipartisan approval. McHugh certainly is qualified for the post.
McHugh has been in Congress since 1993 and is the ranking member, or lead Republican, of the House Armed Services Committee. He's responsible for setting the Republican agenda of the committee, which oversees the Pentagon and America's defense policies. Before becoming ranking member of the committee, McHugh was ranking member of the committee's Subcommittee on Military Personnel. He's been a member of the Armed Services Committee for 16 years. The congressman has visited American soldiers and dignitaries in Iraq and Afghanistan numerous times.
McHugh has done a commendable job in Congress not only on the national level, but for local interests as well. For example, he's supported legislation to help upstate New York dairy farmers; he was instrumental in Fulton-Montgomery Community College's successful efforts to create a Spatial Information Technology Center; and he's garnered federal grants for many local projects over the years. He's also introduced and supported legislation to limit emissions that cause acid rain, which has a devastating effect on the Adirondacks.
Once McHugh is confirmed, local attention will turn to possible contenders for his congressional seat in a special election. The people mentioned so far as possible candidates live outside of Fulton County. We urge area political party officials to brainstorm possible local candidates. We suspect good, qualified, prospective candidates live among us. Having a congressional representative from Fulton or Montgomery counties would be a plus for the area.