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Joseph Michael McDade was born on September 29, 1931 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

He attended St. Paul's School and Scranton Preparatory School. He graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1953 with a B.A. in political science. He received his LL.B. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1956.

McDade served clerkship in the office of Chief Federal Judge John W. Murphy, Middle District of Pennsylvania. He engaged in the general practice of law in 1957. Joseph McDade was elected the city solicitor of the city of Scranton in 1962.

McDade was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1962. The Republican represented Pennsylvania's 10th District for 36 years (1963-1999).

During his years of public life, he served as the vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, vice chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on National Security, and as a member on the Subcommittee on the Interior.

McDade represented the centrist wing of his party, as he was both fiscally and socially moderate. He was a strong supporter of tax and welfare reform, but also was an opponent of free trade agreements.

McDade was instrumental in arranging federal funding for the new Airport Terminal, which now bears his name.

McDade, 82, now lives in northern Virginia.