Congressman Paul McHale
Pennsylvania 15th District
Paul McHale was born and raised in the 15th District of Pennsylvania.
He graduated from Liberty High School in 1968 and then attended Lehigh University, where he majored in Government, was elected to the national honor society Phi Beta Kappa, earned a B.A. degree and graduated with Highest Honors in 1972.
Following his graduation from Lehigh, McHale volunteered for duty with the U.S. Marine Corps. Commissioned a second lieutenant in 1972, he spent two years on active duty, including an overseas deployment as a rifle platoon leader teaching infantry tactics and jungle warfare on Okinawa and in the Philippines.
After release from active duty, Mr. McHale entered Georgetown Law Center in 1974 and received his Juris Doctor degree in 1977. For the next five years he practiced law in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Congressman McHale began his involvement in public service when he was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1982. During his tenure in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, McHale wrote and sponsored numerous pieces of important legislation, including the Child Passenger Protection Act, the Dangerous Juvenile Offender Act, and the Pennsylvania 911 emergency communication statute. McHale was also one of the leaders in the successful fight to pass the 1989 Public Ethics Act and was awarded the Champion of Good Government Medal by Pennsylvania Common Cause for his efforts.
McHale was elected to five consecutive terms in the State House. He resigned in 1991, following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, when he volunteered for active duty as an infantry officer with the Marine Corps during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
On August 16, 1990, McHale, then a Major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, landed in Saudi Arabia. He was among the first Marines deployed to the area. In October, he returned home, but volunteered for a second tour of duty in November. Between January and April, 1991, McHale served as a Marine infantry officer in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. He was twice awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for his service with infantry task forces prior to, and during, the Gulf War. From June 1991, until September, 1992, he served as Operations Officer for the 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, a reserve infantry unit. McHale is one of the few Members of Congress who currently holds an active reserve commission and continues as a drilling reservist with the 157th IMA Detachment, Washington, DC. On September 12, 1994, the Commandant of the Marine Corps personally promoted McHale to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
In January of 1993, Paul McHale began service in the United States House of Representatives representing the 15th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. He was elected to a third term in November, 1996. McHale is an active member of the
House National Security Committee which has oversight responsibility for all U.S. military operations and training. In addition, he serves on the House Science Committee which has jurisdictional responsibility for the many federally funded advanced technology programs, both academic and industrial, now underway in the Lehigh Valley.
Through Congressman McHale’s past legislative leadership, state and federal funding has been obtained for the Mountain Top Campus of Lehigh University, the Bethlehem Technology Center, the Ben Franklin Partnership, the Manufacturer's Resource Center, the new tunnel on the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the new U.S. Postal Service Bar Coding Facility, the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park, the Delaware and Lehigh Heritage Canal Corridor, the Two Rivers Landing Project in Easton, Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown, KidsPeace in Schnecksville, and PETENET, the interactive video linkage of Lehigh Valley colleges and universities.
During his two terms in the House, Congressman McHale has championed the rights of crime victims, the cause of environmental protection, the funding of Medicare and veterans benefits, the elimination of tobacco subsidies, the reclamation and reuse of older industrial sites, as well as the passage of numerous governmental reforms, including the Congressional Accountability Act, term limits for committee chairmen, a ban on all gift to Members of Congress, a balanced federal budget and the line item veto. President Clinton signed into law the Lobby Disclosure Act, a major reform measure originally introduced in the House by Congressman McHale.
McHale has frequently lectured in government and military policy on the campuses of many colleges and universities, including the U.S. Army War College and the U.S. Naval Academy, where he serves as a member of the Board of Visitors. In 1995 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Muhlenberg College.
Congressman McHale is married to Katherine Pecka McHale, a writer and former member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. They are the parents of three children with whom they reside in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.