John M. McHugh, R-Pierrepont Manor, has been the north country's congressman since 1992. And before that he represented much of the region for eight years as a New York state senator. In those years, Mr. McHugh has worked assiduously to protect the interests of Northern New Yorkers and New York state.
Look at a list of critical issues where Mr. McHugh has played a significant role:
■ Fort Drum, where the base survived three base-closure rounds and where there has been a significant federal investment to make the base a premier military installation geared to serving the training and deployment needs of an infantry division. Mr. McHugh rallied support in his district to assure decision makers that soldiers sent to Fort Drum would be well received. He guided the organization of local leaders to present the north country's case on the bleakest days during the base-closure rounds.
■ Water levels on the St. Lawrence River and the eastern basin of Lake Ontario. Mr. McHugh's legislation forced the International Joint Commission to address the need for revision of the water-level practices to enhance the ability of the St. Lawrence to sustain wildlife, generate electricity and participate in a worldwide transportation system without further damage to the environment.
■ Winter home heating aid for those less fortunate in the district who struggle to pay for their winter energy supply.
■ Postal reform where Mr. McHugh overcame much opposition to assure that the U.S. Postal Service would change to meet the demands of its users.
■ A cooperative relationship with the senators from New York, especially Hillary Rodham Clinton with whom he worked closely to advance economic development across rural upstate New York.
John McHugh has been criticized by his opponent for failing to bring the north country "a bridge to nowhere." Letter writers insist that Mr. McHugh's low ranking in Congress for not delivering federal earmarks is a legitimate reason to vote for Michael P. Oot, D-Madison County
That is no reason to criticize Mr. McHugh. In fact he deserves a medal of honor for resisting the urge to earmark funds, but at the same time help constituents solve problems by using government programs available to everyone else.
And Mr. Oot even found time to be delighted that Mr. McHugh sponsored legislation to grant tax exemption to certain classes of Native American tribal lands.
John M. McHugh serves the north country exceedingly well. He should be returned to office.