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|45th Dean of the United States House of Representatives|
|Assumed office |
December 5, 2017
|Preceded by||John Conyers|
|Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee|
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Bud Shuster|
|Succeeded by||Jim Oberstar|
|Chair of the House Resources Committee|
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
|Preceded by||George Miller|
|Succeeded by||James V. Hansen|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Alaska's at-large district
|Assumed office |
March 6, 1973
|Preceded by||Nick Begich|
|Member of the Alaska Senate|
from the I district
January 11, 1971 – March 6, 1973
|Preceded by||Paul Haggland|
|Succeeded by||George Silides|
|Member of the Alaska House of Representatives|
from the 16th district
January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1971
|Preceded by||Multi-member district|
|Succeeded by||Multi-member district|
|Mayor of Fort Yukon|
|Preceded by||Mardo Solomon|
|Succeeded by||Robert Mott|
Donald Edwin Young
June 9, 1933
Meridian, Sutter County, California, U.S.
(m. 1963; died 2009)
Anne Garland Walton
California State University, Chico (BA)
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1955–1957|
|Unit||41st Tank Battalion|
Donald Edwin Young (born June 9, 1933) is an American politician and retired educator serving as the U.S. representative for Alaska's at-large congressional district since 1973. He is the Republican Party's longest-serving member of the House of Representatives and of Congress in history, having represented Alaska for 25 terms.
Young is currently the longest-serving member of Congress, as well as the last remaining member who has been in office since the Nixon Administration; he became the 45th dean of the House of Representatives on December 5, 2017, after John Conyers resigned. He is also the oldest current member of Congress. Before the special election following U.S. Representative Nick Begich's death in a plane crash, Young was mayor of Fort Yukon from 1964 to 1967 and a member of the Alaska House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971 and the Alaska Senate from 1971 to 1973.
Young is the only member of Congress ever to have served during four of the five presidential impeachment processes, having served during Nixon's, Clinton's, and both the first and second impeachments of Trump.
Early life, education and private career
Young was born in Meridian, Sutter County, California. He earned an associate's degree in education from Yuba College in 1952 and a bachelor's degree from Chico State College in 1958. He served in the Army from 1955 to 1957.
Young moved to Alaska in 1959, not long after it became a state. He eventually settled in Fort Yukon, then a 700-person city on the Yukon River, seven miles above the Arctic Circle in Alaska's central interior region. He made a living in construction, fishing, trapping and gold mining. He captained a tugboat and ran a barge operation to deliver products and supplies to villages along the Yukon River. He still holds his mariner's license. During winters, he taught fifth grade at the local Bureau of Indian Affairs elementary school.
Early political career
Young began his political career in 1964 when he was elected mayor of Fort Yukon, serving from 1964 to 1968. The town's population dropped to 488 by 1970. He ran for the Alaska House of Representatives in 1964, but finished tenth, with the top seven candidates being elected for the multi-member district. He was elected to the State House in 1966 and reelected in 1968. Young served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971. He said he "loved" the job before he "got ambitious" and ran for the Alaska Senate in 1970. He served in the Alaska Senate from 1971 to 1973. He was elected to the two-member District I alongside long-serving Republican State Senator John Butrovich. He said he "hated" the state senate and, after encouragement from his first wife, ran for Congress in 1972.
U.S. House of Representatives
Young lost his first race for Congress in 1972 to incumbent Democrat Nick Begich, who had disappeared with Representative Hale Boggs in an Alaskan plane crash weeks before the election. Begich was declared legally dead in December 1972. Young won the resulting special election to fill the seat in March 1973. Young has been reelected 24 times, usually without significant opposition, although he faced strong challenges in the 2008 primary election and 1974, 1990, 1992, and 2008 general elections. He won his 2016 primary with over 70% of the vote and defeated Democrat Steve Lindbeck and Libertarian Jim McDermott in the general election with 50% of the vote to win his 23rd term in office. He won again in 2018, against candidate Alyse Galvin, whose party was undeclared, with 52.6% of the vote.
Young is the most senior U.S. Representative and, after Jim Sensenbrenner retired, the last member who has been in office since the 1970s. He is the second-highest-ranking Republican on the Natural Resources and Transportation and Infrastructure committees. He chaired the former from 1995 to 2001 and the latter from 2001 to 2007. Young was the subject of an extensive FBI investigation but was not charged with wrongdoing. He was subsequently the subject of a House Ethics Committee probe.
Democratic State Senator Nick Begich was elected to the House of Representatives in 1970 to succeed Republican Howard Wallace Pollock, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for governor of Alaska. Young ran against Begich in 1972 and placed second in the August 22 open primary with 13,958 votes (25.60%) to Begich's 37,873 (69.45%). Begich disappeared in a plane crash on October 16, 1972, 22 days before the general election. Begich won the general election with 53,651 votes (56.24%) to Young's 41,750 (43.76%) but was declared dead on December 29.
Young ran in the special election on March 6, 1973, and defeated Democrat Emil Notti, 35,044 votes (51.41%) to 33,123 (48.59%). He won a full term in 1974 with 51,641 votes (53.84%) to Democratic State Senator Willie Hensley's 44,280 (46.16%). He credits his victory to his leadership of the fight for the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System.
Young was reelected with at least 55% of the vote in each of the next seven elections. He defeated former State Senator Eben Hopson with 71% of the vote in 1976, State Senator Patrick Rodey with 55.4% of the vote in 1978, Kevin "Pat" Parnell with 73.8% of the vote in 1980 and Dave Carlson with 70.8% of the vote in 1982.
In 1984 and 1986, he defeated Nick Begich's wife, Pegge Begich, 113,582 votes (55.02%) to 86,052 (41.68%), and 101,799 votes (56.47%) to 74,053 (41.08%), respectively. He defeated Peter Gruenstein with 62.5% of the vote in 1988 and then faced John Devens, the mayor of Valdez, in 1990 and 1992. Young defeated him by 99,003 votes (51.66%) to 91,677 (47.84%) in 1990 and then faced a serious challenge in 1992. He was challenged in the Republican primary by State Senator Virginia M. Collins and defeated her by 24,869 votes (52.98%) to 19,774 (42.12%). In the general election, he was reelected against Devens by 111,849 votes (46.78%) to 102,378 (42.82%). This is both the lowest winning percentage of his career and the only time he has won without a majority of the vote.
He defeated former Alaska Commissioner of Economic Development and 1992 Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Tony Smith with 56.92% of the vote in 1994, State Senator Georgianna Lincoln with 59.41% of the vote in 1996 and State Senator and former Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives Jim Duncan with 62.55% of the vote in 1998. He defeated attorney Clifford Mark Greene with 69.56% of the vote in 2000 and with 74.66% of the vote in 2002, the largest winning percentage of his career. He received 213,216 votes (71.34%) against Thomas Higgins in 2004, the most votes he has ever received in a single election. In 2006, he defeated writer, dramatist and video production consultant Diane E. Benson with 56.57% of the vote.
- Republican primary
Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell announced his candidacy in the August 26 Republican primary. Parnell was strongly supported by Governor Sarah Palin and the Club for Growth. Young was endorsed by Mike Huckabee's political action committee, Huck PAC, in June.
Young won by 304 votes (0.28%), and Parnell declined to seek a recount. Before the announcement of the unofficial results, both candidates had said that they would request a recount if they lost. The state of Alaska pays the costs of recounts when the difference is within a half percent, as it was in this primary election.
- General election
Young faced a strong challenge from Democrat Ethan Berkowitz, the 46-year-old former minority leader in the Alaska House of Representatives. Don Wright, the Alaskan Independence Party nominee, also challenged Young.
Young ran for a 20th term in 2010. He was challenged in the Republican primary by John R. Cox and Sheldon Fisher, a former telecommunications executive, winning with 74,117 votes (70.36%). He defeated Democratic State Representative Harry Crawford in the general election, 175,384 votes (68.96%) to 77,606 (30.51%).
In 2012, Young drew two challengers in the Republican party, but defeated them with 58,789 votes (78.59%). In the general election, he defeated State Representative Sharon Cissna by 185,296 votes (63.94%) to 82,927 (28.62%).
In 2014, Young received 79,393 votes (74.29%) in the Republican primary against three challengers. In the general election, he defeated Democrat Forrest Dunbar, 142,572 votes (50.97%) to 114,602 (40.97%). Young was the only statewide incumbent in Alaska to win reelection that year, as Republican Governor Sean Parnell was defeated by Independent Bill Walker, and Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Begich was defeated by Republican Dan Sullivan. Young was reelected in 2016 with 50% of the vote in a four-way race.
Young ran for a 24th term in 2018, defeating Alyse Galvin, the candidate, who with her affiliation undeclared, had won the combined Alaska Democratic Party, Alaska Libertarian Party and Alaskan Independence Party primary. He received almost 54% of the vote.
On January 26, 2019, Young announced he would run for a 25th term in 2020. He won the Republican primary with 77% of the vote and defeated Democratic nominee Alyse Galvin with 54.4% of the vote in the general election.
On April 28, 2021, Young announced he was running for a 26th term in 2022.
At the start of the 116th Congress, Young was the longest-serving current House member. Due to his long tenure in the House and that of former Senator Ted Stevens, Alaska has been considered to have had clout in national politics far beyond its small population (it is the 47th smallest, ahead of only North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming). He is often called "Alaska's third senator". On March 5, 2019, he became the longest-serving Republican in congressional history, surpassing former Senator Orrin Hatch.
After the 1995 Republican takeover of the House, Young chaired the Committee on Natural Resources, which he renamed the Committee on Resources. The name was changed back by Democrats in 2006 and has since been retained by Republican chairs. He chaired the committee until 2001, then chairing the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure from 2001 to 2007.
During a 1994 House debate touching on the question of Alaska Natives' right to sell sex organs of endangered animals as aphrodisiacs, he pulled out an 18-inch penis bone of a walrus, better known as an "oosik", and brandished it like a sword on the House floor at the face of the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In March 1998, Young brought a bill to the House floor allowing voters in Puerto Rico to vote on continuing its commonwealth status or becoming either a state or independent. The legislation passed by a single vote.
In July 2007, Representative Scott Garrett proposed an amendment to strike money in a spending bill for native Alaskan and Hawaiian educational programs. Young defended the funds on the House floor, saying, "You want my money, my money" and "Those who bite me will be bitten back." He also suggested that conservative Republicans such as Garrett lost the Republicans their majority in the 2006 election by challenging spending earmarks, and made several critical remarks about Garrett's state, New Jersey. Garrett did not ask for an official reprimand, but other conservative Republicans took exception to Young's claim that the funds in question were "his" money. Members of the conservative Republican Study Committee gave Garrett a standing ovation later in the day during the group's weekly meeting and Virginia Foxx of North Carolina compared Young's earmarks to "legal theft".
In 2008, the United States Department of Justice investigated Young's role in steering $10 million into a Florida transportation project. In 2010, the investigation concluded with no charges against Young. In 2011, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a lawsuit seeking information on the investigation. Some documents were subsequently released, and a judge ordered the federal government to pay CREW $86,000 in legal fees.
In March 2013, the House Ethics Committee created a special committee to investigate allegations that Young had improperly accepted gifts, used campaign funds for personal expenses, failed to report gifts in financial disclosure documents, and made false statements to federal officials. Young said, "it will go forever. I've been under a cloud all my life. I'm sort of like living in Juneau. It rains on you all the time. You don't even notice it." In 2014, the committee rebuked Young after finding he had failed to disclose gifts totaling over $60,000 between 2001 and 2013.
In March 2013, Young used the ethnic slur "wetbacks" during a radio interview to describe Latino migrants who worked at his father's ranch when he was growing up. He issued a statement later that day saying that he "meant no disrespect" and that he "used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in central California". Young later issued a formal apology for his remarks, saying, "I apologize for the insensitive term" and that "it was a poor choice of words."
In May 2016, Young wrote a letter to the U.S. House clerk stating that for 25 years he had failed to disclose his inherited interest in a family farm in California on which he and other family members had signed oil and gas leases; Young said the omissions to his financial reporting were accidental.
On May 4, 2017, though he had indicated two months earlier that he would oppose repeal of the Affordable Care Act, he voted for its repeal. Governor Bill Walker said Alaska "would be the most negatively affected if the proposed legislation is signed into law as is. Alaskans already pay the highest health care premiums in the country." U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski opposed the removal of the provision in the act that eliminated discrimination against those with preexisting conditions, saying it wasn't "what Alaskans are telling me they think is an acceptable response." It was estimated that annual policy costs for coverage under the state's exchange would rise by $12,599.
In 2017, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner told Politico that Young had once pinned him against a wall inside the House and held a 10-inch knife to his throat.
In September 2017, during a House floor debate on an amendment to the 2018 government spending package for wildlife management and national preserves in Alaska, Young made critical comments about Representative Pramila Jayapal, including calling the 51-year old Jayapal "young lady" and saying that she "doesn't know a damn thing what she's talking about" and that her speech on the amendment "was really nonsense. It was written by an interest group". The exchange led to a temporary suspension of proceedings: upon their resumption, Young acknowledged in an address to the floor that his comments were "out of order" and apologized to Jayapal; she accepted.
On May 19, 2021, Young introduced H.R.3361, the United States Ambassador at Large for Arctic Affairs Act of 2021, which would create a presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed Ambassador at Large for Arctic Affairs who would represent the U.S. in matters relating to the Arctic before international bodies of which the U.S. is a member, foreign nations, and multilateral negotiations. No votes have been held on the bill.
- Committee on Natural Resources
- Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
- Arthritis Caucus
- Congressional Cannabis Caucus
- Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus
- House Biomedical Research Caucus
- House Diabetes Caucus
- United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
- Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus
- Sportsmen's Caucus
- Congressional Cement Caucus
- Afterschool Caucuses
- Congressional Western Caucus
Young believes that abortion should be legal only when the pregnancy is a result of incest or rape or when a woman's life is endangered by her pregnancy. He has addressed the issue of the time period in which abortions should be legal, saying he does not think abortions should be limited to the first trimester of pregnancy, and also disagrees with the idea of federal subsidies prohibiting abortions.
Arctic oil drilling
When President Trump signed an executive order that rolled back Obama-era restrictions on Arctic oil drilling, Young commended Trump for "recognizing the importance of development in the Arctic OCS."
The Arctic Refuge drilling controversy has repeatedly brought Young into the national spotlight. He has been a longstanding supporter of opening lands within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. He has included provisions to that effect in 12 bills that have passed the House, but environmentalists concerned with the impact of road-building, pipelines and other development on the Arctic tundra landscape have successfully defeated such legislation in the Senate.
On November 18, 2011, Young got into an argument during a Congressional hearing with Douglas Brinkley, a historian who teaches at Rice University in Texas, over the idea of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Young was not present for Brinkley's testimony, but still responded to it. He said his absence during Brinkley's testimony was attributable to a pre-scheduled vote on the House floor. Young called Brinkley's argument "garbage" and addressed Brinkley as "Mr. Rice". Brinkley responded with remarks about Young's education, saying, "I know you went to Yuba College and couldn't graduate." Young's reaction, "I'll say anything I want to say! You just be quiet!", met with Brinkley's refusal and response that Young "didn't own [him]", saying that as a taxpayer, he paid Young's salary. The two continued arguing intermittently throughout the hearing, with the committee chair ultimately threatening Brinkley with removal.
At an assembly at Fairbanks' West Valley High School in 1995, Young was answering questions about cutting federal funding for the arts. He said that such funding had "photographs of people doing offensive things," and "things that are absolutely ridiculous." When asked for an example, Young quickly replied "buttfucking", in reference to Robert Mapplethorpe's photographic exhibition The Perfect Moment. After receiving criticism for the use of that obscenity, Young explained his choice of words by saying he had tried "to educate" teens.
"Bridge to Nowhere"
In 2005, Young and Stevens earmarked $223 million for building the enormous Gravina Island Bridge from Ketchikan to Gravina Island, which also contains Ketchikan's airport. The bridge would be used for access by emergency vehicles, as well as passengers. There is a small ferry for cars and passengers that travels the 1/4 mile (400 m) crossing in 3 to 7 minutes and runs every half-hour. Critics assailed this as pork barrel spending at taxpayers' expense and The New York Times quoted Keith Ashdown, spokesman for the Taxpayers for Common Sense: "It's a gold-plated bridge to nowhere." "At a time when we have bridges and roads crumbling around the United States, and traffic congestion worse than ever, why build a $200 million project that will serve only a few hundred people?" The Gravina Island Bridge was awarded a Golden Fleece Award by that organization in 2003. After criticism from citizens and others in Congress, lawmakers de-funded the bridge and instead funneled the money to Alaska's Department of Transportation, allowing the governor of Alaska to start road construction after the Alaska legislature funded the project with the directed monies.
Knik Arm bridge
The Knik Arm Bridge was earmarked in the bill connects Anchorage to Pt. Mackenzie, a lightly populated area in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough that is less than four miles (6 km) across Cook Inlet from downtown Anchorage.
Anchorage is accessible from Point Mackenzie only by an 80-mile (130 km) route around Knik Arm, much of which is an unimproved road. The demise of this second bridge project has been suggested for years.
Part of the concern about the bridge is that if it were built, it would significantly enhance the value of property in which Young's son-in-law owns an interest.
Young has supported a number of efforts to reform cannabis laws. In 2019 he introduced the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. Other legislation Young has introduced includes the CARERS Act in 2015 (to reschedule cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act) and the SAFE Banking Act in 2017 (to improve access to banking services for cannabis businesses). In February 2017, Young launched the Congressional Cannabis Caucus with Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Dana Rohrabacher, and Jared Polis. He toured several cannabis facilities in Alaska in October 2019.
In 2020, Young was one of only five House Republicans to vote for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. The act aimed to "correct the historical injustices of failed drug policies that have disproportionately impacted communities of color"; it included provisions to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, impose a federal tax on cannabis products, and use the proceeds of the tax to fund restorative justice programs.
In 2021, Young introduced the Gun Rights and Marijuana (GRAM) Act to allow the ownership of firearms by people who use cannabis in accordance with state law. Also in 2021, Young introduced the Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses, and Medical Professionals Act to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and direct federal agencies to develop regulations for cannabis similar to alcohol.
October is National Energy Awareness Month, and the topic of energy production and its role in driving climate change — very rightfully — is as important a topic as ever. While the United States is leading the way in developing energy in significantly cleaner ways than countries like Russia, Venezuela and China, Democrats continue to promote a policy agenda that would cripple our economy and cause energy prices to skyrocket for American families.
Young had previously said that he did not believe in anthropogenic climate change and that the idea of global warming is "the biggest scam since the Teapot Dome." Despite these public statements, Young signed a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that recognized the urgency behind combating climate change, writing, "We are confronting multiple and intersecting crises—the COVID-19 pandemic, an economy in turmoil, societal injustice, and, above all, the climate crisis—all of which demand swift and bold action." Young voted for the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which identifies climate change as a national security threat.
Young supports exempting the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule, saying, "An exemption will not only bring great economic benefit to Alaska but will also help bolster the long-term health of the Tongass National Forest. The Tongass is an invaluable natural resource and it requires active management. Unfortunately, the Roadless Rule has only prevented Alaskans from responsibly utilizing our resources."
Young supports an increase in the federal gasoline tax to keep pace with the continued rise in gasoline efficiency of automobiles.
At a town hall in Palmer, Alaska, on March 13, 2020, Young said of the pandemic, "This is blown out of proportion about how deadly this is." He continued, "It's deadly but it's not nearly as deadly as the other viruses we have … I call it the hysteria concept." Young later clarified that he was attempting to urge calm. On March 17, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread rapidly in the U.S., he missed the vote on a $2 trillion bill to deal with pandemic, instead attending a National Rifle Association fundraiser.[better source needed] As public awareness of the pandemic's severity grew, Young walked back his comments. By March 25, in a video message, he said the impact of COVID-19 is "very real, growing," and was reshaping our daily lives. Urging Americans to stay home, he continued, "Weeks ago, I did not truly grasp the severity of this crisis, but clearly we are in the midst of an urgent public health emergency."
On November 6, 2020, Young was photographed maskless at a birthday party for a staff member in an Anchorage restaurant. Numerous well-known political operatives who attended, including former Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, soon tested positive for COVID-19. On November 12, Young was diagnosed with COVID-19. He was admitted to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage that day and released on November 15, writing, "Very frankly, I had not felt this sick in a very long time, and I am grateful to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers." He confirmed to a The Washington Post reporter that "many" of his campaign staff had been infected, as well as his wife, who he said was asymptomatic.
During the 2016 Republican presidential primary, Young originally supported Jeb Bush, and later John Kasich. In April 2016, he said, "I'm not supporting Donald Trump," and when asked about Trump's success in the primaries, said that it was due to "a bunch of idiots following a pied piper over the edge of the cliff" and that he blamed the people who voted for Trump. By December 2016, he was more supportive of Trump's accomplishments and proposed policies. By September 2019, he called the investigation and the Trump impeachment inquiry "a waste of time". On November 1, 2019, Young "head-butted a camera after people with the progressive group MoveOn trailed him down a congressional hallway to an elevator, persistently asking whether it was acceptable for a foreign government to interfere in a U.S. election," although many reported that it was instead a "head nudge" delivered in a comical manner.
On November 7, 2020, Young was one of the first Republicans to acknowledge and congratulate Joe Biden on his victory in the 2020 presidential election. On January 6, 2021, Young affirmed Biden's victory by voting against the objections to counting electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Young was a strong supporter of Biden's nominee for United States Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland. He called Haaland, a Democrat, a friend and said it was "a long time overdue" for the U.S. to have a Native American interior secretary. Haaland asked Young to introduce her at her confirmation hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Senator Joe Manchin, a crucial swing vote, cited Young's support of Haaland as a reason for his support.
Young has said he believes the Environmental Protection Agency should not regulate greenhouse gases, and that it kills jobs. He has said, "Environmentalists are a self-centered bunch of waffle-stomping, Harvard-graduating, intellectual idiots" who "are not Americans, never have been Americans, never will be Americans." But Young has supported omnibus spending bills that maintain current EPA funding levels despite calls from the Trump Administration to cut such funding.
Young has said he wants to see a clean repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but said in March 2017 that he would not vote on an earlier version of the AHCA (a healthcare plan to repeal and revise parts of the ACA) because it would have too negative an impact on health care costs in Alaska.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the AHCA would raise health care costs in Alaska more than in any other state, and by 2020, on average Alaskans would receive $10,243 less per year under the AHCA compared to the ACA for the same coverage, almost double the cost increase of any other state (the next being North Carolina with consumers receiving $5,360 less per year). Young said, "Nothing in this new bill addressed the real problems of health care."
The AHCA would also stop the Medicaid expansion Obamacare provided, which gives health coverage to more than 27,000 of Young's constituents, about 3.7% of the Alaska population. For those reasons, Young was a key House member preventing the AHCA from going to a vote. When the AHCA did not pass, Young said it was a "victory for Alaska." But despite those statements, and being officially "undecided" because of the disproportionate impact on Alaskans, Young voted for the AHCA on May 4, 2017, without any significant changes to improving Alaska subsidies.
An organization called Save My Care spent $500,000 to release a series of attack ads against 24 House members who voted for the AHCA, including one about Young that decried his vote, claiming it would raise health care costs for Alaskans.
In 2015, Young issued a statement saying he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, recognizing that the law is settled on this issue, and stating that he accepts the Supreme Court decision ruling same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional.
Young voted for the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which permitted LGBT service members who were discharged for their sexual orientation to retroactively update their discharge status to honorable if they had been designated dishonorable for being LGBT.
In 2021, Young was one of 29 Republicans to vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. This bill expanded legal protections for transgender people, and contained provisions allowing transgender women to use women's shelters and serve time in prisons matching their gender identity.
Young has frequently earned the support of organized labor, and in the 116th Congress, voted in support of the pro-union PRO Act, which would make it easier for workers to certify unions, augment how employers classify laborers and prevent laborers from being denied rights on the basis of their immigration status.
Policing and criminal justice reform
In the aftermath of the 2020 protests related to the murder of George Floyd, Young voted for the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which would remove Confederate names from U.S. military installations.
Young voted for legislation authorizing the creation of a Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys. In 2020, the bill was signed into law. The commission is intended to examine societal disparities that black men and boys face at disproportionately high rates.
Suicide rate in Alaska
When asked about the fact that Alaska has the highest per capita suicide rate in the U.S., Young said that he believes it is at least partially the result of government handouts, and that "this suicide problem didn't exist until we got largesse from the government." He believes Alaska needs to cut public assistance programs.
On October 21, 2014, Young addressed an assembly of students at Wasilla High School shortly after a student there committed suicide. During a question and answer session, he said a lack of support from family and friends had caused the student's suicide. During the assembly, Young also recalled a story about drinking alcohol in Paris, and used profanity several times, officials from the school reported.
When a student criticized Young for his comments on suicide, Young called him an "asshole." Young apologized for these comments on October 24, saying, "I am profoundly and genuinely sorry for the pain it has caused the Alaskan people."
Missing and murdered indigenous women and girls
In the 116th Congress, Young helped introduce the BADGES Act to help solve the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women. He was one of 33 Republicans to vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which included his amendment to help end violence against indigenous women.
Young has said he does not believe in conducting town halls (district meetings for officials to meet and speak with constituents in a town hall setting). When he was asked for a face-to-face meeting with his constituents in April 2017, an aide said, "The modern town hall has taken an unfortunate turn as a 'show' for the media and are [sic] unproductive for meaningful dialogue." Young's meetings in Alaska are primarily with elected officials, business groups, service clubs, and gatherings of Republicans. On April 20, 2017, residents started a town hall meeting by themselves, speaking to Young through a video camera with a color photo of Young to represent him.
In Juneau, while speaking to the Alaska Municipal League in 2018, Young asked the crowd, "How many millions of people were shot and killed because they were unarmed? Fifty million in Russia because their citizens were unarmed." Facing criticism, Young's office insisted that his comments were taken out of context, stating, "He was referencing the fact that when Hitler confiscated firearms from Jewish Germans, those communities were less able to defend themselves. He was not implying that an armed Jewish population would have been able to prevent the horrors of the Holocaust, but his intended message is that disarming citizens can have detrimental consequences."
Migrant detention facilities
In 2019, Young was the sole Republican to vote for the Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act.[better source needed] This legislation would set minimum standards for Customs and Border Patrol detention facilities, including requiring health screenings and ensuring that basic needs of detained migrants, such as access to food and water for detainees, are met.
Young was married to the former Lula Fredson, an indigenous Gwich'in. She volunteered her time serving as the manager of his Washington, D.C. congressional office. They had two daughters and were members of the Episcopal Church. Lula died on August 1, 2009, at age 67.
|Year||Republican||Votes||Pct||Democratic||Votes||Pct||Third Party||Votes||Pct||Third Party||Votes||Pct||Third Party||Votes||Pct||Write-in votes||Write-in %|
|1972||Don Young||41,750||43.76%||Nick J. Begich* †[a]||53,651||56.24%|
|1973||Don Young||35,044||51.41%||Emil Notti||33,123||48.39%|
|1974||Don Young*||51,641||53.84%||William L. Hensley||44,280||46.16%|
|1976||Don Young*||83,722||71.00%||Eben Hopson||34,194||29.00%|
|1978||Don Young*||68,811||55.41%||Patrick Rodey||55,176||44.43%||200||0.16%|
|1980||Don Young*||114,089||73.79%||Kevin Parnell||39,922||25.82%||607||0.39%|
|1982||Don Young*||128,274||70.84%||Dave Carlson||52,011||28.72%||799||0.44%|
|1984||Don Young*||113,582||55.02%||Pegge Begich||86,052||41.68%||Betty Breck (I)||6,508||3.15%||295||0.14%|
|1986||Don Young*||101,799||56.47%||Pegge Begich||74,053||41.08%||Betty Breck (L)||4,182||2.32%||243||0.14%|
|1988||Don Young*||120,595||62.50%||Peter Gruenstein||71,881||37.25%||479||0.25%|
|1990||Don Young*||99,003||51.66%||John S. Devens||91,677||47.84%||967||0.51%|
|1992||Don Young*||111,849||46.78%||John S. Devens||102,378||42.82%||Michael States (AKI)||15,049||6.29%||Mike Milligan (G)||9,529||3.99%||311||0.13%|
|1994||Don Young*||118,537||56.92%||Tony Smith||68,172||32.74%||Joni Whitmore (G)||21,277||10.22%||254||0.12%|
|1996||Don Young*||138,834||59.41%||Georgianna Lincoln||85,114||36.42%||William J. Nemec II (AKI)||5,017||2.15%||John J. G. Grames (G)||4,513||1.93%||222||0.10%|
|1998||Don Young*||139,676||62.55%||Jim Duncan||77,232||34.59%||John J. G. Grames (G)||5,923||2.65%||469||0.21%|
|2000||Don Young*||190,862||69.56%||Clifford Mark Greene||45,372||16.54%||Anna C. Young (G)||22,440||8.18%||Jim Dore (AKI)||10,085||3.68%||Leonard J. Karpinski (L)||4,802||1.75%||832||0.30%|
|2002||Don Young*||169,685||74.66%||Clifford Mark Greene||39,357||17.32%||Russell deForest (G)||14,435||6.35%||Rob Clift (L)||3,797||1.67%||291||0.00%|
|2004||Don Young*||213,216||71.34%||Thomas M. Higgins||67,074||22.44%||Timothy A. Feller (G)||11,434||3.83%||Alvin A. Anders (L)||7,157||2.40%||1,115||0.4%|
|2006||Don Young*||132,743||56.57%||Diane E. Benson||93,879||40.01%||Alexander Crawford (L)||4,029||1.72%||Eva L. Ince (G)||1,819||0.78%||William W. Ratigan (I)||1,615||0.69%||560||0.24%|
|2008||Don Young*||158,939||50.14%||Ethan Berkowitz||142,560||44.98%||Don Wright (AKI)||14,274||4.50%||1,205||0.38%|
|2010||Don Young*||175,384||68.87%||Harry Crawford||77,606||30.64%||1,345||0.49%|
|2012||Don Young*||185,296||63.94%||Sharon Cissna||82,927||28.61%||Jim McDermott (L)||15,028||5.19%||Ted Gianoutsos (I)||5,589||1.93%||964||0.33%|
|2014||Don Young*||142,572||50.97%||Forrest Dunbar||114,602||40.97%||Jim McDermott (L)||21,290||7.61%||1,277||0.46%|
|2016||Don Young*||155,088||50.32%||Steve Lindbeck||111,019||36.02%||Jim McDermott (L)||31,770||10.31%||Bernie Souphanavong (I)||9,093||2.95%||1,228||0.40%|
|2018||Don Young*||149,779||53.08%||Alyse Galvin||131,199||46.50%||1,188||0.42%|
|2020||Don Young*||191,606||54.36%||Alyse Galvin||159,710||45.31%||1,176||0.33%|
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To state Board of Fisheries chairman Art Nelson, Don Young's Way, the proposed Knik Arm crossing named after his father-in-law, is hardly a bridge to nowhere.
For Nelson and his well-connected partners in Point Bluff LLC, Rep. Don Young's span is in fact a bridge to somewhere: their 60 acres of unobstructed view property on the Point MacKenzie side of Cook Inlet.
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- "Clerk of the House".
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- U.S. Representative Young marries on his 82nd birthday Archived March 2, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Juneau Empire, Becky Bohrer (AP), June 10, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
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- Went missing October 16, 1972 (before the election); declared dead December 29, 1972.
- Donald Young at 100 Years of Alaska's Legislature
- Don Young caught lying about debate over emissions bill Alaska Report, May 20, 2006
- Don Young Gives Self Fictitious "Hero of the Taxpayer" Award from Watchdog Group July 25, 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Don Young.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Don Young|
- Congressman Don Young official U.S. House website
- Don Young for Congress
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Don Young at Curlie
- Appearances on C-SPAN