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Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011 12:00 a.m.

Rep. Buck McKeon plays up humor in dinner with students

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Jordan Emont | Contributing Photo Editor

Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., speaks to members of the College Republicans Monday night Jordan Emont | Contributing Photo Editor

This report was written by Hatchet reporter Pavan Jagannathan

Like any well-seasoned speaker, Congressman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., started with humor.

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

“If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed,” the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee said.

Kicking off the first Congressional Dinner Series event of the semester, the 10-term representivate gave a brief talk before taking questions from the nearly 30 members in attendance.

Describing his trips to various military bases around the country, McKeon’s message to students was to “get as much education as you can. That is the key to a great life.”

McKeon emphasized the importance of increasing military spending even in a time of economic uncertainty.

“The world is becoming no safer of a place,” he said. “War usually breaks out when the enemy thinks you are weak. This is not the time to cut spending. This is the time to allocate more money towards defense, but to spend it more efficiently.

McKeon added that he believes the country is at a point where the budget dictates defense needs, rather than defense needs driving the budget.

As the former chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, McKeon addressed concerns about potential cuts to education under pressure to cut funding from all areas of the government.

“There will be cuts in education as there will be for most domestic spending,” McKeon said. “The stimulus package showed us that an increase does not lead to results. The American people would rather see us [the federal government] do less rather than more.

College Republican Chairman Jake Wolf said he thought the small and intimate nature of the dinner allowed those in attendance to feel a more personal connection McKeon.

“A lot of College Republican members are international affairs students,” Wolf said. “We really wanted to reach out and bring someone in who could offer some perspective on how the United States in reacting militarily to the world around us.”

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