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June 2, 2009

North Country congressman nominated as Army secretary

PLATTSBURGH — President Barack Obama nominated North Country Congressman John McHugh on Tuesday as secretary of the Army.

McHugh, a Republican from Pierrepont Manor near Watertown, has represented the North Country in Congress in the 23rd District since 1993.

He is ranking GOP member of the House Armed Services Committee and has frequently visited the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The president announced McHugh’s appointment at the White House at noon Tuesday.

“I am enormously moved and deeply proud of this nomination,” McHugh, 60, said. “I feel very blessed today.”

He promised to do all he could for America’s military personnel.



COMMITTEE WORK

“Rep. McHugh is committed to keeping America’s Army the best trained, the best equipped, the best land force the world has ever seen,” Obama said.

The president said McHugh would make sure the country’s troops can handle the new kinds of combat in the 21st century, including nonconventional warfare.

McHugh cited his 16 years on the Armed Services Committee as great training for his new post, as well as his ability to cross party lines and work with Democrats.

“It’s an amazing committee, the most productive, the most responsible and, finally, the most fun because of all the challenges we face,” he said.



SECRETARY DUTIES

The secretary of the Army is a civilian position in the Department of Defense. The secretary is responsible for a wide range of issues, including manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations and financial management.

If confirmed, McHugh will be replacing Pete Geren, who took the job in March 2007.

McHugh will join Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a holdover from President George W. Bush’s Republican administration, at the Pentagon.



PRAISE FOR MCHUGH

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-Brooklyn) said McHugh will do well in the position.

“Two words that characterize John McHugh are class and service, and in this new job he will once again be able to use both,” Schumer said in a statement.

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