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McKeon Keeps Busy on Spring Break : Congress: The Santa Clarita Republican brings news on defense-industry and Elsmere Canyon landfill fronts.


This is spring break for the Congress, but that doesn't mean it's a vacation.

Since arriving from Washington on a Friday night flight, Santa Clarita's new Rep. Howard P. (Buck) McKeon has pumped more hands than can be counted, and on Tuesday conducted his second locally broadcast question-and-answer session in front of a small crowd at a barbecue restaurant in Canyon Country.

"Vacation?" the Republican chuckled. "I don't think so."

During the two-week break, McKeon is slated to make the rounds with the usual defense contractors, health and medical organizations, business groups and education organizations.

But smaller organizations don't get short shrift either, with McKeon making stops at the Littlerock Town Council, the Poppyseed Festival in the Antelope Valley and the Santa Clarita Bruins Assn., a UCLA alumni group.

McKeon brought with him news that he had persuaded several members of Congress to tour the Antelope Valley's defense contractors with the aim of trying to lessen the effect of defense cuts on the area. The first-term congressman also said he would create a task force of Republican representatives that would, among other things, fight the proposed Elsmere Canyon landfill.

Decked out in his usual uniform of black cowboy boots contrasting with a dark suit and red tie, McKeon on Tuesday fielded questions from a friendly audience at Rattler's Barbecue.

Asked about the $1.6 billion in aid that Clinton wants to send to Russia, McKeon said he opposed it.

"Let them take care of their problems, and let us take care of ours," he said.

Earlier, however, in front of a noon gathering at the Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce, McKeon had softer words for Clinton's proposal, saying, "I would vote against it if I were to get the chance, but I can't criticize him for doing it."

McKeon did, however, have to disappoint some in the audience accustomed to having their former mayor help out in local difficulties.

"How can you help us move traffic across this valley? Isn't there someone you can talk to?" asked an audience member.

Although his role as a member of Congress may limit his jurisdiction over local traffic control problems, McKeon's response suggested that he had never left Santa Clarita.

"I don't want the federal government coming in and telling us what to do."

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