Biography


U.S. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon is a champion of a strong national defense, the men and women of America's Armed Forces and their families, easing the nation's national debt, and returning fiscal discipline to the federal government.

McKeon was selected by his peers to serve as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in the 112th Congress, and again for the 113th Congress. He was first named Ranking Member of the Committee in June 2009. His priorities for the Committee include:
  • Ensuring our troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world have the equipment, resources, authorities, training and time they need to successfully complete their missions and return home;
  • Building on the Armed Services Committee’s strong bipartisan tradition of providing our warfighters and their families with the resources and support they need; and
  • Investing in the capabilities and force structure needed to protect the United States from tomorrow’s threats, while mandating fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency from the Department of Defense.

As Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, McKeon is fighting to strengthen our military and invest in a force postured to meet the challenges of the 21st century, while working to provide the necessary resources for America's sons and daughters in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has also led efforts to keep terrorist detainees off of U.S. soil, boost funding for missile defense, and restore the tradition of passing defense authorization bills devoid of controversial social items.

Additionally, McKeon has worked tirelessly to bridge the gap between industry and military leaders in order to ensure that our warfighters on the ground continue to receive the support they need and deserve.

McKeon has regularly worked to bolster missile defense programs, support funding for the F-22, and provide enhancements to effective, lighter-weight body armor and mine-resistant vehicles. He has fostered veteran resource programs for counseling, vocational training, and college education.

Prior to serving as the lead Republican on HASC, McKeon was the top Republican on the Education and the Workforce Committee for close to three years, where he advanced conservative policies supporting school choice, teacher quality and accountability, and higher education access and affordability.

In early 2006, McKeon ran the committee as chairman, replacing Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), who stepped down after becoming House Majority Leader.

Before that, McKeon headed the House Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness, which examined issues such as higher education, technology in education, teacher training, job training, and welfare reform. In this role, McKeon helped negotiate the formula that resulted in interest rates for the federal student loan program dropping to their lowest level in 38 years. McKeon still serves as a senior member of the Education and Labor Committee.

His leadership in cutting federal spending and reducing taxes also has been noted by several national organizations, including the National Taxpayers Union and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In addition to his official committees, McKeon is also a member of:
  • Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus: As founder of the Caucus McKeon is helping to educate members of Congress and the public on the strategic, tactical, and scientific value of UAVs. McKeon actively supports further development of UAV's and hopes to more effectively engage the civilian aviation community on UAV use and safety.
  • Republican New Media Caucus: McKeon Co-founded the Caucus in 2009, functioning as a space for its members to have discussions and share ideas about technology policy, and encourage the use of new communications technologies that assist Members in reaching and providing important information to their constituents. 

McKeon was born Sept. 9, 1938, in Los Angeles. He grew up in Tujunga, CA and graduated from Verdugo Hills High School in 1956. After serving a two and a half year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he attended Brigham Young University.

After several semesters, however, McKeon took a hiatus from his studies. During this time, he married his wife, Patricia, started a family, and began his career as a businessman in the Santa Clarita Valley, located in the northern part of Los Angeles County.

He was soon involved in his community through such organizations as the Boy Scouts, Little League, the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Board, and the Chamber of Commerce, among others.

It was three decades later that McKeon returned to college and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1985, together with his eldest daughter. It is for this reason that McKeon is often praised by adult literacy groups. Later, in 2002, he received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Strayer University.

Before coming to Congress in 1992, McKeon served on the William S. Hart Union High School District Board of Trustees from 1978 to 1987. During that time, the city of Santa Clarita was incorporated and its citizens selected McKeon as a member of the City Council.

It was during the council’s first meeting that its members selected McKeon as Santa Clarita’s first mayor. During his tenure on the City Council, Santa Clarita expanded its sheriff’s and parks programs and earned a reputation as one of the safest cities in America.

The McKeons have six children and 31 grandchildren and live in Santa Clarita.