WASHINGTON -- Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), a onetime western wear haberdasher who rose to become chairman of the powerful
His departure would further diminish the state's clout on Capitol Hill, at least in the short term, and set the stage for a competitive race to choose his successor.
He will become the third California congressman to head for the exits when his term expires, a Republican source said, further shaking up a California delegation that built up influence on Capitol Hill because of its stability over the years. Rep.
Last year, 14 California freshmen took office, changing the face of the state's 53-member House delegation, after the defeat or retirement of a number of veterans, including two committee chairmen.
Just a few years ago, Californians chaired six House committees, more than any other state. Today, they chair three, while lawmakers from longtime rival Texas hold five gavels, more than any other state. However, Rep.
The 75-year-old McKeon has chaired the Armed Services Committee since 2011, taking a leading role in fighting spending cuts to the Pentagon, but must give up the gavel after this term because of GOP term limits for its committee leaders.
McKeon, who has six children and 31 grandchildren, was Santa Clarita's first mayor and a former co-owner of a chain of western wear stores before he was elected to the House in 1992. He served a stint as chairman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce.
He has been a conservative voice in Congress but has also worked with Democrats; he teamed up with liberal Sen.