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McCURDY, DAVID KEITH (1950- )

A prominent player in military affairs during the 1980s and 1990s, U.S. Representative David Keith McCurdy was born in Canadian, Texas, on March 30, 1950, to T. L. and Aileen Geis McCurdy. He graduated from high school in Yukon, Oklahoma, in 1968 and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a bachelor's degree in 1972 and a J.D. in 1975. From 1969 to1972 he served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, attaining the rank of major. In 1971 McCurdy married Pamela Sue Plumb, a medical doctor, and the couple had three children, Joshua David, Cydney Marie, and Shannon Rose. From 1975 to 1977 he was assistant attorney general for the state of Oklahoma. In 1977-78 he was a Rotary graduate fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where he studied international economics. He practiced law in Norman, Oklahoma, from 1978 to 1980. In 1984 he was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of America by the United States Jaycees.

In 1980 McCurdy was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives for Oklahoma's Fourth District. He served from January 3, 1981, to January 3, 1995. A strong advocate for the United States military, he supported authorization of the MX missile program, funding of Nicaraguan contras, and deployment of troops in the Persian Gulf War, and he frequently found himself at odds with members of his party on defense and foreign policy issues. In 1991 he became chair of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and two of its subcommittees, Program and Budget Authorization, and Oversight and Evaluation. Two years later he found himself bumped off the committee, perhaps as a rebuff to his criticism of House Speaker Tom Foley. McCurdy also sat on Committee on Armed Services, chairing its Subcommittee on Military Installations and Facilities, and on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, chairing its Subcommittee on Transportation, Aviation and Materials. He was co-chair of the Congressional Sunbelt Caucus, chair of the CDM Task Force on Foreign Policy and Defense, and vice chair of the Democratic Leadership Council, where he served under chair and then-governor Bill Clinton. At the 1992 Democratic National Convention he seconded Clinton's nomination as the party's presidential candidate.

In 1994 the congressman ran for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by David Boren. His Republican opponent was First District Representative Jim Inhofe, who defeated him in a general election that witnessed the end of the Democrats' forty-year control of the House. McCurdy blamed his and other Democrats' losses on President Clinton's unpopularity.

In 1995 in McLean, Virginia, the former congressman initiated a consulting and investment company that worked primarily with health care and high-tech companies. In 1998 he became president of Electronic Industries Alliance, an Arlington, Virginia, trade organization for the electronics manufacturing and information technology industries.

SEE ALSO: DEMOCRATIC PARTY, GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS, TWENTIETH CENTURY.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Michael Barone and Grant Ujifusa, The Almanac of American Politics, 1990 (Washington, D.C.: National Journal, 1989). Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1996 (Arlington, Va.: CQ Staff Directories, 1997). Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 9 November 1994, 6 December 1994, and 7 October 1998. CQ's Politics in America: 1986, The 99th Congress (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 1985). CQ's Politics in America: 1992, The 102nd Congress (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 1991). CQ's Politics in America: 1994, The 103rd Congress (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 1993). Who's Who in America, 1982-1983 (42nd ed.; Chicago: Marquis Who's Who Inc., 1982).

Todd J. Kosmerick

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