At a Glance
- Career History: Mayor and council member, Santa Clarita, Calif. (1987-1992); bank executive, Valencia National Bank (1987-1992); trustee, William S. Hart School District, Santa Clarita Valley, Calif., 1978-1987; co-owner of Howard & Phil's Western Wear
- Birthday: Sept. 9, 1938
- Hometown: Santa Clarita, Calif.
- Alma Mater: Brigham Young University, B.S. in animal husbandry, 1985
- Spouse: Patricia
- Religion: Church of Latter-Day Saints
- Committees: Chairman, House Armed Services Committee (since January 2011), House Education and Labor Committee
- DC Office: 2184 Rayburn House Office BuildingPhone: 202-225-1956
Path to Power
McKeon was born in 1938, in the northern reaches of the San Fernando Valley. His parents were the owners of Howard and Phil's Western Wear, a retail chain founded in 1962 known for its cowboy apparel.
After graduating from high school in 1956, McKeon served two years on a mission with the Church of Latter-Day Saints before enrolling at Brigham Young University. McKeon did not complete his degree until 1985, in the meantime helping run the family's business. The chain went bankrupt in 1996, but not before making McKeon and his four brothers millions of dollars.
McKeon is a reliable conservative, voting with his party 94.9 percent of the time during the 110th Congress. Among his votes against his party was supporting a 2007 bill providing federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research that was vetoed by President George W. Bush.
National Security and Defense
McKeon has advocated for defense spending that has helped defense contractors within his district, including Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Among the more prominent contracts garnering his praise were approved in 2006, including $4.2 billion for the development and production of the F-35 joint strike fighter.
McKeon is a close ally of Republican leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who he succeeded in 2006 as chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee.
In 2007, McKeon was one of three House members recruited by former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) to be his eyes and ears in Congress ahead of his bid to become the 2008 Republican presidential nominee.