CHAMPLAIN Republicans honored one of their own for nearly a quarter-century of service to the North Country. The Town of Champlain Republican Committee rolled out the red carpet for guest of honor Congressman John M. McHugh, R-Pierrepont Manor, during their annual dinner at the Champlain Knights of Columbus Hall Oct. 17. McHugh was recognized by the committee for his more than 15 years of service to the 23rd Congressional District. Olive M. Barie, the town Republican Committee chairman, credited the congressman for working with every level of government since his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992 and during his tenure as a state senator for eight years in the 46th Senate District. The congressman, continued Barie, has always been a person who didnt care who got the credit, so long as the job got done. Two years ago, when John went from being a member of the [House] majority to a member of the minority, unlike most partisan politicians, John remained as effective as he was before, said Barie. This, because he has never been afraid to reach across the aisle to the other party to do what had to be done to get the job done. State Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey, R-Peru, concurred with Baries remarks, reflecting on first meeting the congressman when he was campaigning for the very office he holds today. McHugh had stepped off an airplane at the former Clinton County Airport where he gave a speech about his platform and the issues facing the district. It was then Duprey said she knew McHugh would make a good leader. There was never a doubt in my mind, and all these years later there is not a doubt how incredibly fortunate we are in the North Country to be represented by somebody of the character and the quality of John McHugh, Duprey said. He serves us well; he never forgets where he came from. I believe we have one of the best congressmen in the United States and Im so proud that hes my friend. Teresa R. Sayward, R-Willsboro, who serves as assemblywoman for the 113th Assembly District, commended the congressman for also being a friend to the North Country in general, given the amount of funding he has secured for the region for projects and personal support he has shown for various local projects and events. Sayward recalled the opening of the Essex County Veterans Cemetery in Wadhams last year. It was a small event that she described as not necessarily being of great importance to the rest of the world, but of extreme importance to Essex County. We were all gathered there, not very many of us, but we were circled around and this black car pulls up and John McHugh gets out, recalled Sayward. He had driven there by himself, he didnt have a driver, and he came across that field. It meant so much not only to the people of our county, but, most importantly, to our veterans, who have given so much for our nation. Thats the kind of person John McHugh is. McHugh thanked the assemblywomen and Barie for their kind words, especially crediting Sayward, Duprey, and state Sen. Elizabeth OC. Little, R-Queensbury, who was unable to attend, for being those who truly deserved to be honored during the event. The congressman said his time in office thus far has been a very humbling opportunity. Those he has served are the ones he credits for keeping him interested in serving today. When the closure of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base was announced more than a decade ago, it was a dark time in the North Countrys history, said McHugh. Through the hard work of private citizens and elected officials, he said, what was a seemingly hopeless situation turned into what has been called one of the most successful developments as a result of a base closure in the nations history. The people of this county taught me you dont give up; you fight back, said McHugh. The people of Clinton County taught me when times are tough, you work harder. Through your leadership, we have rebuilt that air base. At the close of the dinner, the congressman was presented with a framed novelty $1,000,000 bill by Barie who said the real thing would be a fraction of what the North Country owes him for his leadership. The bad news is, the bill is not real, but the good news is, Congressman McHugh, the gratitude and our respect for you as an honest, hard-working representative for these people in Washington is very, very real.