Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young today joined Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) to announce a new piece of bipartisan legislation to ensure the federal government recognizes the unique hardships of providing quality healthcare options in rural areas of Alaska and Hawai’i. The bill, H.R. 5592, would allow Alaska and Hawai‘i to decide which areas of the state should be considered rural and, in turn, eligible for federal grants and programs dedicated to improve healthcare services in rural areas.
The bill will allow Alaska and Hawai‘i to make their own state-designated Frontier Areas. Currently, the federal government determines the areas based on a statistical model that does not take into account the unique geographical challenges facing both states.
“We face many challenges in Alaska when it comes to accessing healthcare, particularly when it comes to the unique and non-traditional travel required to reach villages and towns that have medical facilities,” said Congressman Young. “Our problems in rural Alaska are too important to ignore and we should not place one-sized fits all restrictions on communities that clearly need our support. The State of Alaska knows best when it comes to understanding our unique geography and our people, and I believe they should be the ones to decide which communities are considered rural. The federal government must understand that.”
“Hawai‘i should be able to determine its own Frontier Areas because the current federal process doesn’t know or serve our communities, therefore negatively impacting the ability of our rural areas to qualify for certain federal assistance,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who met with concerned rural community health leaders last month. “The problem with the federal standards is that it relies on population numbers and physical distances from urban areas without fully recognizing how long it can take to drive from Hāna or how a bad rainstorm can completely shut off Hau‘ula from Honolulu. The federal government cannot rely solely on numbers to understand the reality our island residents face.”
In addition to allowing Alaska and Hawai‘i to use state-approved definitions for “rural” areas, H.R. 5592 would also create another frontier category for other areas facing geographic remoteness that are not adequately reflected by simple distance and population figures.
Full text of the legislation is available here.
Washington, D.C. – Alaska’s Congressional Delegation and their colleagues from Washington State are pushing the Food and Drug Administration to change the market name for pollock and clearly differentiate it from inferior fish harvested in Russia. Supporting a request by the Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP), the bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote a letter (attached) to the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner seeking to change the legal market name from “Alaska pollock” to “pollock” to differentiate American-caught seafood from the 113 million pounds of Russian-harvested pollock bought by Americans in 2012.
Beyond a matter of commercial concern, the lawmakers stressed that the terminology is causing confusion about the origins of the fish, writing “pollock harvested in Alaskan waters is of a higher quality and is managed more sustainably than other pollock, especially Russian pollock.”
Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich and Congressman Don Young explained their reasoning in the letter. Among their points:
“Pollock harvested from Alaskan waters is of the highest quality and taste; it is sustainably managed to ensure that the resource will be there in the future for the fishermen, processors and coastal communities that depend on it,” said Senator Murkowski. “This Administration should act to counter Russian’s recent actions to harm Alaska’s seafood industry, and the FDA should take action promptly to make it easier for consumers to tell good Alaska pollock from inferior Russian product.”
“Alaska has set the global standard for responsible and sustainable fisheries management and we should not let Russian fishermen capitalize on Alaska’s brand,” said Senator Mark Begich. “Americans shouldn’t be misled by false advertising—we deserve to know where the food on our dinner tables comes from. The Alaska delegation will continue to work closely together to make sure we protect Alaska’s brand and American consumers from false advertising by Russian fishermen.”
“This clarification makes a significant difference for our Alaskan Pollock fishery, the 2.5 billion pounds they sustainably harvest each year, and the everyday American consumer,” said Congressman Don Young. “It’s a very simple solution to a 100 million pound problem; otherwise, Russian caught Pollock will continue to be passed off as Alaskan due to a confusing market name.”
The Alaska Congressional Delegation is pleased to announce the following grants:
U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Economic Development Administration
U.S Department of Transportation
U.S. General Services Administration
U.S. Department of Energy
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young today released his public schedule for the remainder of September, which includes visits to the Southeast communities of Ketchikan, Metlakatla, Juneau and Sitka as well as Anchorage for the Chamber of Commerce “Make It Monday” forum.
What: Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce Luncheon
When: Wednesday, September 24, 2014; 12 PM
Location: Cape Fox Lodge, Ketchikan, AK
What: Metlakatla Indian Community Tribal & City Council Luncheon
When: Thursday, September 25, 2014; 12:30 PM
Location: Metlakatla, AK
What: Juneau Mercantile and Armory Visit
When: Friday, September 26, 2014; 1:30 PM
Location: Juneau, AK
What: End of the Season Celebration and Picnic
When: Saturday, September 27, 2014; 12:00 PM
Location: Downtown Sitka Centennial Hall, Sitka, AK
What: Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Make it Monday Forum
When: Monday, September 29, 2014; 12:00 PM
Location: Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center, Anchorage, AK
* All events and times are subject to change.
Washington, D.C. – With the support of Alaskan Congressman Don Young, the House of Representatives today sent a single, common-sense energy package to the Senate focused on increasing efficiency, ensuring reliability, streamlining production, and creating new energy infrastructure. Comprised of 13 House-passed bills, H.R. 2, the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act, passed by a vote of 226 to 191.
“On the six-year anniversary of the first Keystone XL Pipeline application, the House sent a clear message to the Senate that the American people can no longer wait for solutions to our many energy problems – high gas prices, significant bureaucratic red tape, loss of countless American jobs, and a slowing federal permitting process,” said Congressman Don Young. “I have consistently fought to defend the Alaskan and American economy, which is why I stand with the American people in calling upon the Senate to swiftly take up the strategy we’ve outlined to jump start the American energy renaissance.”
Included in the energy package is H.R. 4899, the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act, legislation cosponsored by Congressman Young to ease the pain American families and business owners face at the gas pumps by expanding American energy resources across the country – both onshore and offshore. The legislation makes significant steps to ensure increased Alaskan production by “facilitating the expeditious exploration, production, and transportation of oil and natural gas from and through” the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPRA).
“The United States must continue to make progress in developing our many oil and gas resources across the nation, including offshore in areas like the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, to relieve the many growing pressures facing the American people,” said Congressman Don Young. “As gas prices rise and Americans continue to struggle to make ends meet, this legislation will maintain pressure on the federal government to remove unnecessary roadblocks standing in the way of responsibly developing our nation’s natural resources.”
Also included in this commonsense energy plan to grow U.S production and increase North American energy security are provisions to do the following:
For a complete list of provisions included in H.R. 2, click here.
Impacts of Obama Administration Energy Roadblocks:
Washington, D.C. – In an effort to grow local economies and restore opportunity for the American people, the House of Representatives and Alaskan Congressman Don Young today passed a broad package of bills – H.R. 4, the Jobs for America Act – aimed at providing relief for business owners, lowering taxes, slowing the growth of federal regulation, and restoring healthy forest management and economic activity. H.R. 4, which includes critical language for the Alaska timber industry and rural communities across Southeast, passed the House by a margin of 263 to 163.
“This package represents a determined effort by House Republicans to boost the economy and help more Americans find jobs,” Congressman Young said. “By restoring the 40 hour work week as the definition of a full-time worker employment under the Affordable Care Act, we will save some businesses from the crushing threat of penalties. By permanently banning or repealing certain taxes, we will let hardworking American households keep more of their paycheck and choose how they spend. By slowing down and streamlining the relentless avalanche of government regulation, we will remind federal agencies that they work to serve us, not the other way around.”
“Unfortunately, the problems these individual bills would solve still exist because they have all died in the Senate where the majority seemingly opposes lowering taxes and shielding Americans from the ill-effects of the federal takeover of healthcare,” said Congressman Young. “The President continues to spew rhetoric condemning a do-nothing Congress; however, the House has consistently made efforts to pass legislation to create new jobs, improve the economy, and let Alaskans keep more of their hard earned paychecks. Employers and employees need this type of help because running a business is growing harder and harder every day thanks to a bloated federal government that has never met a business practice it didn’t want to regulate.”
Of particular Alaskan interest, the package of 15 bills includes H.R. 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, legislation consistent with recommendations from Governor Parnell’s Alaska Timber Task Force to allow for the management of millions of acres of federal forest under state law for the purpose of creating economic development and funding our schools and boroughs.
“Down 80% over the last 30 years, timber harvests in our federally managed forests are quickly dwindling,” said Congressman Don Young. “These numbers affect Southeast Alaska more than any other region in the nation and compound the need for diminishing Secure Rural Schools funding, which creates uncertainty and hardships for our local communities and schools. I am proud that H.R. 1526 was included in today’s diverse package of solutions and look forward to putting Americans back to work and allowing communities to take their futures into their own hands.”
Fourteen of the individual bills included in H.R. 4 have previously passed the House in the 113th Congress. For a full list of provisions included in this package, click here.
Provisions of particular interest:
### Read More
Washington, D.C. – With the leadership of House Oceans Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Don Young, the House Natural Resources Committee today reported legislation to the full House that would impose added sanctions on vessels engaging in Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU).
“We have worked extremely hard over the years to eliminate and deter pirate vessels from stealing our resources and harming our economies,” said Congressman Don Young. “Today, the House Natural Resources Committee took a significant step to give our authorities the tools to fight back against these criminals and ensure that millions of pounds of illegally caught product never reach the global market.”
Coast Guard Cutter Rush escorting suspected high seas drift net fishing vessel Da Cheng in the North Pacific Ocean in 2012.
H.R. 69, the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2013, introduced by Congresswoman Bordallo (D-Guam), would strengthen existing enforcement sanctions by revising violations, penalties, permit requirements, and port privileges. The legislation would also create additional enforcement measures for the search and inspection of processing facilities, records and shipments, in addition to developing a list of vessels engaged in IUU fishing and taking action against them.
Included in H.R. 69 is an amendment Congressman Young helped craft and push through the Natural Resources Committee process. The amendment – the Port States Measures Agreement Act of 2014 – would implement the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, negotiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 2009.
The legislation would implement the Agreement and would work to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing by placing additional controls on foreign vessels seeking entry into U.S. ports, effectively eliminating IUU fishermen from accessing our markets.
Similar legislation to H.R. 69 passed the House during the 111th Congress; however, no action was ever taken by the Senate. Legislation in the 112th Congress was reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources, however; action was not taken by the full House.
Congressman Young has been a strong advocate for ocean conservation efforts, including numerous actions against IUU fishing. He has served as Co-Chairman of the House Oceans Caucus since 2013.
Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives and Alaskan Congressman Don Young today passed H.J. Res. 124, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution of 2015, a stopgap spending measure to avoid a repeat of last year’s government shutdown and fund the federal government through December 11, 2014. The legislation, which is expected to be addressed by the Senate in the coming days, provides $1.01 trillion in discretionary spending, authorizes the training and arming of vetted Syrian rebels to “degrade and destroy” ISIL, extends the moratorium on Internet access taxes, and reauthorizes the charter of the Export-Import Bank of the United States through June 2015. H.J. Res 124 passed by a vote of 319 to 108.
“Alaskans have sent me to Congress to make tough decisions and that is exactly what I had to do today,” said Congressman Don Young. “This short-term spending measure is not what the America people deserve, but at this time it would have been both irresponsible and negligent to let the government shut down and ignore the growing threat of international terrorists. While my House colleagues and I share many differences, today we put those aside in order to fulfill our obligations to this nation and protect the safety and security of our people.”
Included in H.J. Res 124, was an amendment offered by Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA), to authorize U.S. military action to combat and deter the growth of ISIL. The provision, which passed 273 to 156, would require Pentagon officials to update Congress every 90 days on the vetting process of rebel groups and procedures for providing training and equipment.
“Today, I voted for an amendment in the hopes of reducing or eliminating the need for another war where a large number of U.S. forces would need to be sent into Iraq and Syria to prevent a terrorist attack on American soil,” said Congressman Young. “Congress was given no easy option today; however, short of putting U.S. servicemen and women back on the ground, which I oppose, this was the only option we had.”
“In making this difficult decision, I heavily weighed two aspects,” Young said. “First and foremost, I thought of our brave service members who have already sacrificed so much to keep America free and our interests safe. Second, I fundamentally believe that ISIL is a determined and serious threat to the United States and the freedoms we often take for granted. They are unlike most terrorist organizations in the region and have the most funding, best training, and most capable equipment of any threat we've previously seen. More importantly, there are numerous ISIL fighters that hold Western passports, including more than 100 American citizens. These people and the extremists they fight for pose a direct threat to our nation’s security and we must decisively act to protect our nation.”
“Ultimately, I supported this amendment because I believe we cannot turn a blind eye to the atrocities against humanity currently going on in Iraq and Syria,” said Young. “We cannot put our head in the sand and ignore the serious threat that ISIL poses to Americans everywhere. We cannot risk inaction and just hope that this situation works itself out.”
Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young today shared the following message with Alaskans in remembrance of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks:
“Thirteen years ago, the America we knew changed forever. Today, I recognize the anniversary of the greatest tragedy in this nation – other than Pearl Harbor – the 9/11 attacks on America. I urge all Alaskans and Americans to take a moment to honor the more than 3,000 American lives lost on that day, unite as a grateful nation, and be thankful for the countless men and women who continue to defend our freedoms.
“Today, on the 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, I stand here in front of the United States Capitol. On the morning of 9/11, I was on my way to the Capitol when I received a call from my staff, saying ‘don’t come in, they have just crashed an airplane into the Pentagon.’
“As I returned, I was able to see the images of two airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center towers. At that time, I didn’t know what was happening. I certainly didn’t know that we had just begun a war.
“Thirteen years later, we continue to fight the longest war we’ve ever become involved – and it’s certainly not over. As the foremost bastion of freedom, terrorist across the globe will continue to attack America.
“As Americans, we work every day to preserve the freedoms of our nation and prevent government from getting in the way. It is the job of Congress to make sure we accept this responsibility.
“I ask Alaskans to remember the people we have lost and remember the many freedoms we have in this nation. Some of us in America, not me, believe we should give up some of our freedoms for the sake of increased security. I say, if this is allowed to happen, the bad guys have won. I want to preserve our freedoms and continue to fight every day to protect them. I encourage all Alaskans to keep that in mind and ask you to respond to acts against freedom.
“God bless you all as we remember the attacks of September 11th, the day that changed America forever.”
Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Natives Affairs will hold a hearing on H.R. 4668, legislation introduced by Alaskan Congressman Don Young and Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA-52) to facilitate infrastructure development and potential uses of Point Spencer, AK.
The legislation, introduced on May 15, 2014, would establish a public and private partnership among the federal government, the United States Coast Guard, the State of Alaska, the Bering Straits Native Corporations (BSNC) and private industry. The bill would assist in the timely development of the region by calling for the conveyance of more than 2,500 acres of existing federal land to interested stakeholders.
What: Legislative Hearing on H.R. 4668
When: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 2:00pm
Where: 1334 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
Congressman Young shared the following statement upon introduction of H.R. 4668:
“I believe this legislation is the best path forward to ensure the interests of all stakeholders are fully met when productively developing Point Spencer for uses in the Arctic. Not only is this approach equitable, it sensibly addresses public and private sectors interests for the betterment of our nation, the state of Alaska, the indigenous people of the Bering Strait region, as well as the private sector. The federal government has failed to optimize this critically important piece of land for far too long, and I believe the plan we have set in place works to achieve that goal.”
Recently, the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) expressed its support for H.R. 4668 in a letter to the Alaska Congressional delegation:
"The lands encompassed by BSNC's section 14(h)(8) selection have been used for centuries by the indigenous Inupiat and Yup'ik people of the Bering Strait, as a key location for hunting sea mammals and fishing. There are archaeological artifacts from ancient Inupiat villages located on the site.
“In recent years, many items of antiquity relevant to the lives and lifestyles of the ancient Bering Strait Inupiat people have been removed from the site while the land has been under government management and control.
“This is a painful and tragic loss of cultural and historical information of importance to the Inupiat people of the Bering Strait. The bill . . . will assist in stopping and preventing the looting of these items."
The AFN letter went on to say:
"To the degree that there may be national security interests for the use of land at Point Spencer, those can be fully accommodated through the provisions of H.R. 4668 . . . Alaska Natives . . . have for decades been involved in providing goods and services directly related to national security to the United States through work contracted with federal agencies such as the Department of Defense . . .
“We believe that this legislation will result in important jobs creation in rural Alaska, and can thereby improve the quality of life of both Alaska Natives and non-Natives in the region."
Additionally, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), the Alaska Native Regional Corporation with lands located in proximity to those of the BSNC wrote in a letter to the Alaska Congressional delegation:
"The Arctic is home to us, and we are well familiar with its environment and all of the challenges and opportunities it offers . . . as more and more of the Arctic waters open up to shipping, use of the Northern Route and the Northwest Passage will become more frequent and routine. There will be an increased need for ports in places like Point Spencer. We believe that BSNC is best suited to help advance development at Point Spencer through the melding of public and private sector interests and capabilities.
Kawerak, Inc., the nonprofit arm of the Bering Straits Native Corporation, also recently shared their support for H.R. 4668 in a letter to the Alaska Congressional delegation.
Congressman Don Young serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs and Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA-50) is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.
2314 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Don Young was re-elected to the 113th Congress in 2012 to serve his 21st term as Alaska’s only Representative to the United States House of Representatives. First sworn in as a freshman to the 93rd Congress after winning a special election on March 6, 1973, Congressman Young is today the 1st ranking Republican member and the the 4th ranking overall member of the House of Representatives.
Congressman Young served as Chairman of the House Resources Committee from 1995 to 2001 and then as the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2001-2007. In the 110th Congress, Representative Young returned to the helm of the Resources Committee to lead his fellow Republicans as the Ranking Member. In the 112th Congress, he was chosen to serve as the Chairman for the Subcommittee on Alaska Native and Indian Affairs. Rep. Young currently serves as a senior Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Natural Resources Committee.
Congressman Young calls Fort Yukon, Alaska home; a remote village of approximately 700 people located 7 miles above the Arctic Circle in Alaska’s central interior region. Born on June 9, 1933 in Meridian, California, he earned his associate degree at Yuba Junior College in 1952, and his bachelor’s degree in teaching at Chico State College in 1958. Between earning these degrees, he served in the US Army’s 41st Tank Battalion from 1955 to 1957.
When he first moved to Alaska, Congressman Young made a living in construction and tried his hand at commercial fishing, trapping, and in the search for gold. In Fort Yukon he taught in a 25-student, 5th grade elementary class in the Bureau of Indian Affairs school. Constructed of logs, the school had a wood stove that kept his Alaska Native students warm in the sub-freezing, arctic winter. With the annual spring break-up of the river ice, he captained his own tug and barge operation to deliver products and supplies to villages along the Yukon River. Even today, he remains the only licensed mariner in Congress.
It was in Fort Yukon that Rep. Young met and married a young bookkeeper named Lu. Lu was always at the Congressman’s side and supported him throughout his public service career. Lu and Don were married for 46 years, they were blessed with and raised two daughters, Joni and Dawn, and 14 grandchildren. Mrs. Young passed away on August 2, 2009.
Congressman Young first entered public service in 1964 when he was elected Mayor of Fort Yukon. Two years later, Alaskan voters elected him to the State Legislature in Juneau where he served in the State House from 1966 to 1970, and later in the State Senate from 1970 to 1973. Just hours after being sworn in to United States House of Representatives in 1973, he found himself leading the historic battle for approval of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. Often citing this as the single most important achievement in his career, Congressman Young stated, “Next to statehood itself, the most historical legislation passed that affected every Alaskan then, now, and in the future, was the passage of the pipeline legislation.”
That same year, his colleagues honored him as the “Freshman Congressman of the Year.” He went on to gain a key appointment on the then Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee where he pushed through the 200-mile fishing limit critical to Alaska’s fishing industry. He fought against federal control of lands and resources to which Alaskans are rightfully entitled – a battle he continues today with the same vigor. In 1997, he passed by a 419-1 vote, the National Wildlife Improvement Act, which sets guidelines for the nation’s 500-plus wildlife refuges.
Congressman Young proudly serves as the “Congressman for All Alaska” and loves his role as the only Alaskan Representative in Congress. Renewed by the challenges and goals of the 111th Congress and his committee positions, Congressman Young will continue to champion legislation and funding for programs benefiting Alaska and the nation. His vision remains the same – to provide citizens with the opportunity for a better life not just for today, but also for tomorrow and the future.
Charging Alaskans and Americans to photograph or film in a National Park? You’ve got to be kidding me. http://t.co/wQoYSZoxco
I hope all are safe following the 6.2 magnitude earthquake felt from Fairbanks to Homer. @AKearthquake
House sends common-sense energy package to Senate, calls for increased Alaskan production through development of NPRA http://t.co/G5obvCtdXI
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this Administration’s massive expansion of federal regulations continues to harm our economies,
I hope all are safe following the 6.2 magnitude earthquake felt across the state. I’m being told that the epicenter was 80 miles northwest
I joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers today to urge the FDA to change the legal market name of “Alaska pollock” to “pollock” in order
Today is National Voter Registration Day, a day to celebrate our civic duty by encouraging friends and family to register to vote. #CelebrateNVRD
As a parent, grandparent and former teacher, I recognize the importance of making sure our children have a safe and reliable place to go while