Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the House approved H.R. 3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act, a bipartisan package that includes the Fiscal Year 2018 Defense, Military Construction-VA, Energy and Water Development, and Legislative Branch appropriations bills.
“For years, this process has eroded away from regular order into a series of late hour, multi-package efforts to fund the government. It’s no way to do business, but it was necessary as we look to prioritize spending as we approach the end of the fiscal year,” said Congressman Don Young. “Largely, this bill makes a number of important improvements and reforms to address the size and scope of our federal agencies, begin rebuilding our military – including readiness, construction and equipment for Alaska-based missions – support our nation’s veterans and servicemembers, and strengthen energy and infrastructure programs important to Alaska and the nation. Although there’s always room for improvement, and areas this bill fell short, I believe it was an important step in the appropriations process and averting a year-end crisis.”
Of particular interest, Congressman Young worked throughout the appropriations process to protect and fund a number of Alaska specific programs and priorities, including F-35 procurement, $168.9 million for military construction at Eielson Air Force Base, increased funding for Alaska-based missile defense, water and infrastructure projects, services for Alaska-based veterans, and numerous programs of state and national priority.
“We worked extremely hard during the appropriations process to protect the integrity of Alaska-based programs and projects, including those that were slated for cuts in the President’s budget,” said Congressman Don Young. “As I’ve said before, Congress has a responsibility to set spending, not the President, and I’m pleased to see my colleagues work with me to ensure Alaska’s concerns were addressed. This bill takes a particular focus on defense and supporting our military, including the addition of new equipment and infrastructure within Alaska. As we prepare for the beddown of the F-35 at Eielson, it’s imperative these projects are funded and on schedule – which this legislation prioritizes.”
Congressman Young took important steps to protect the Denali Commission – which received a $1 million increase from previously appropriated House levels, but a $4 million reduction from enacted FY17 levels – by authoring an amendment that would restore funding to four regional commissions. Young came to an agreement on the House-floor with the Chairman of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee to work within Conference to “ensure the Denali Commission is provided sufficient funds to support their efforts for his State.”
Congressman Young working to protect Denali Commission funding on the House Floor (click here to watch)
“My proposal would have restored funding for the Denali Commission to its FY17 level to continue the great work that it does to support my constituents of Alaska…., “ said Congressman Don Young. “The Denali Commission, started in 1998, is an independent federal agency designed to provide critical utilities, infrastructure, and economic support throughout Alaska… To date, more than 240 Alaska Native Villages and over 100 communities have been served by the Denali Commission and as a result have seen reduced energy costs and increased access to health services... The Denali Commission is a force multiplier in terms of funding improvements and I look forward to working with you on funding levels for this Commission to continue its amazing work.”
H.R. 3219, includes a number of priorities of Alaskan interest, including:
*A state by state military construction project list can be found here (Alaskan projects are found on page 102).
Eielson Air Force Base Military Construction: $168.9 million in total Mil-Con funding
Veterans Administration Programs and Initiatives of Alaskan Interest:
§ Kotzebue Small Boat Harbor – $370K
§ Lowell Creek Tunnel Flood Diversion - $950K
§ Saint George Harbor Improvement - $362K
§ Unalaska (Dutch) Harbor - $950K
o Operations and Maintenance:
§ Port of Anchorage – $10.26 M
§ Chena River Lakes – S8.038M
§ Chignik Harbor – $150K
§ Dillingham Harbor– $850K
§ Douglas Harbor– $300K
§ Homer Harbor – $600K
§ Inspection of Completed Work, AK – $200K
§ Ninilchik Harbor – $550K
§ Nome Harbor – $2.365 M
§ Project Conditions Survey, AK – $750K
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Washington, D.C. – In response to questions regarding ongoing healthcare negotiations in the Senate, particularly as they pertain to Alaska-specific priorities, Congressman Don Young shared the following statement:
“Very simply, Obamacare is a broken law that continues to fail Alaskan families, workers and small businesses. My position has been and continues to be that it must be repealed and reworked. As for discussions on Alaska-specific priorities, I’ve known from the beginning what’s at risk. However, I’ve never been one to panic just because someone says ‘fire’. My job is to serve the Alaskan people and work with the administration to ensure it gets done. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Congressman Young has been in direct communication with senior administration officials on the issues of healthcare and resource development as recently as yesterday. He remains closely involved in discussions and negotiations pertaining to healthcare reform, particularly as they relate to Alaska.
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved H.R. 3364, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanction Act, legislation authorizing additional sanctions on North Korea, Iran, and Russia for recent actions that undermine the national security of the United States and its allies. Alaska Congressman Young, who joined 418 of his colleagues in support of the legislation, shared the following statement:
“This legislation is an important and appropriate step to holding bad actors accountable for their misguided and aggressive actions,” said Congressman Don Young. “By approving these sanctions, we send a very clear message: the United States will not tolerate these types of hostile acts, including the support of state-sponsored terrorism, repeated human rights violations, the development and testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), and threats to U.S national security and global stability. I believe sanctions can and will continue to serve an important role in deterring future threats –especially in light of new aggression by North Korea – and encourage the Senate and President to move forward on these important issues of national security.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources unanimously approved legislation introduced by Alaska Congressman Don Young to settle a long-standing claim by the Alaska Natives from Alexander Creek, Alaska. The legislation, H.R. 1418, would amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) to recognize Alexander Creek, Alaska as an Alaska Native Village – entitling them to the same benefits entrusted to other Native Village Corporations established pursuant to the law.
Congressman Young providing speaking in support of H.R. 1418, the Alexander Creek Recognition Act (click here to watch).
“Congress passed ANCSA in 1971, and the legislation provided for the formation of Alaska Native Regional and Village Corporations. These Corporations received land and benefits to support the well-being of their respective Native shareholders. In order to form a Village Corporation, a community was required to have 25 shareholders,” Congressman Young said before the House Natural Resources Committee. “When BIA developed the shareholder roll for Alexander Creek, residents were mistakenly undercounted and the community was not allowed to form a Village Corporation.
“For over 45 years, families from Alexander Creek have lacked the foundation for social and economic support afforded to other villages. It is time we right this injustice before more elders pass away. My bill would open a negotiation between Alexander Creek and the Department of Interior to fairly and equitably settle Alexander Creek’s claims. My bill does not prescribe any benefits but ensures that the settlement will be in rough value parity with other Village Corporations, given consideration for the time that has passed since the enactment of ANCSA. Mr. Chairman, this is a simple bill that takes care of an injustice that happened in 1971. I strongly encourage its passage.”
Click here to learn more H.R. 1418.
Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young released the following statement on the nomination of Joe Balash as the Department of Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Management:
“The work being done by this administration in the areas of energy and public lands – including efforts to unleash our nation’s energy potential and reform years of mismanagement by our agencies – is something we value greatly as Alaskans,” said Congressman Don Young. “Critical to these efforts is the appointment of individuals and staff that understand the real-world impacts and consequences their decisions have on public lands and resources-oriented states like mine. As the Congressman for the state that was often ground zero for the countless missteps of the previous Interior Department, I commend Secretary Zinke for making Alaska a top-priority as he assembles his team. The addition of Joe Balash – someone I’ve worked with closely during his service as the Chief of Staff to Senator Dan Sullivan, as a former Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and as an ardent supporter of responsible resource development – is an important step to begin solving the many challenges Alaskans and Americans have faced when dealing with the Department of the Interior.”
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young today led efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to approve the passage of H.R. 218, the King Cove Road Land Exchange Act, legislation he’s spearheading with Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan to facilitate a life-saving road for the isolated community of King Cove, Alaska. Met with opposition featuring dishonest and misleading arguments used in previous efforts to deny the life-saving road, the legislation passed with bipartisan support 248 to 179.
“This is truly an issue of life or death for the residents of the isolated community of King Cove,” Congressman Don Young following passage of H.R. 218. “For over 30 years, they have fought for the approval an 11-mile, non-commercial use, gravel road to the community of Cold Bay, AK in order to access an all-weather airport during medical emergencies. Sadly, this legislation is only necessary because of the heartless actions of the previous administration, which denied previous efforts by Congress to authorize the construction of this road. That decision, which placed the interests of environmentalists and wildlife over human life, was one of the worst government actions I’ve seen in all my years. I thank all those that stood by the people of King Cove to support the passage of this commonsense legislation. Without question, it will save lives. The people of King Cove have fought for over 30 years for safe and reliable access to emergency care and it’s past time we make it a reality. Frankly, I will not rest until we do.”
The Alaska delegation’s newest attempts to authorize the construction of the King Cove road comes following the December 2013 decision by then Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to deny the construction of the 11-mile road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Since then, the community of King Cove has experienced more than 60 medivacs – including 17 by the U.S. Coast Guard – in often harsh weather conditions. The House-passage of H.R. 218 – legislation to authorize an equal value land exchange between the State of Alaska and the Department of Interior – represents the first time the House or Senate has approved such legislation since 2009.
Congressman Young speaking in favor of H.R. 218 on the House floor (click here to watch).
“This is an issue that should have been settled a long time ago,” said Congressman Young. “In 2009, this Congress passed a land exchange piece of legislation – very similar to this. We made one mistake, we did put into it the ability for the Fish and Wildlife to make recommendations – even then the recommendations were on the positive side. The last administration decided, under the Secretary of the Interior, not to build an 11-mile road to save my constituents – the Aleut people from King Cove – in favor of a goose. And the people who live in King Cove weren’t really considered… This does not harm to the refuge. It in fact saves lives, gives them an opportunity to take and experience medical care the rest of us all have. This is the right thing to do. Let’s not be caught into special interests saying it’s going to hurt the refuge.”
Fighting Back Amendments to Delay or Kill the Project:
Bill opponents, including those that have previously led efforts to deny the necessary land exchange, offered disingenuous and mischievous amendments to impede the future development and construction of the King Cove road. Those amendments, which sought reimbursement for previously appropriated federal dollars and the addition of language used by Secretary Jewell to previously reject the project, failed under the leadership of Congressman Don Young and House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop.
Congressman Young speaking against amendments to H.R. 218 (click here to watch)
“This is an amendment that’s mischievous in trying to defeat what we’re trying to do today. The amendment is wholly unnecessary to mitigate impacts on migratory birds in the Izembek Refuge…,” Young said in response to Rep. Niki Tsongas’ (D-MA) amendment. “It would allow, again, the Secretaries or one of the other Secretaries of a lesser part like Fish and Wildlife to delay the project. It’s an effort to delay the project.”
“This amendment would penalize the State of Alaska for Clinton Administration decisions by requiring the state to pay back grant money for a costly and often unreliable emergency hovercraft system,” Young said in opposition to Rep. Grijalva’s (D-AZ) amendment. “Residents of King Cove never wanted this system and only agreed to the compromise when it became clear the Clinton Administration would oppose any effort to authorize the construction of this life-saving road. After years of working in good-faith to make the solution work, King Cove had to abandon the system due to exorbitant costs and mechanical failures on the craft. This amendment puts a price tag on the safety of King Cove residents who have sought reliable access to medical care for decades… Furthermore, the amendment seeks repayment from the State of Alaska; however grant monies for temporary emergency relief efforts were largely awarded to local governments.”
Matter of Life or Death:
Since the heartless denial of the project in 2013 by then Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, 65 medivacs have been conducted, 17 of which were by the U.S. Coast Guard at a cost of $210,000 per incident. Without access to reasonable or reliable emergency access, the residents of King Cove continue to fight for a road corridor to connect their town to Cold Bay – the home to an all-weather airport (closed an average of 10 days per year) featuring Alaska’s fifth-longest runway.
Congressman Young speaking on the human impact of H.R. 218 during rules consideration (click here to watch).
“This is an issue that means live. 19 people have died out of the community of King Cove. Mothers, children, husbands, uncles and aunts…,” said Congressman Young during the debate on the rule to consider H.R. 218. “Those that speak against it have never experienced the wind that howls through that area. When you try to land a plane and you crash, or take off with a sick person on board and you crash, or go across the bay when the waves are 30 feet high. Human beings – Alaskan constituents – that have medical aid 600 miles away but are stopped by 11 miles. It’s not allowed because supposedly there’s a better way. There is no better way than a road.”
Broad Support in Congress and Alaska:
The legislation is supported by the entire Alaskan Congressional delegation, Governor Bill Walker (I-AK), the residents of King Cove, Alaska, the Alaskan State Legislature, the Agdaagux Tribal Council and the National Congress of American Indians, among others. In addition, House debate featured a coalition assembled by Congressman Young to defend passage of H.R. 218.
“The people of Alaska who have engaged in this effort over the last three-plus decades have been rebuffed at every turn in which the only answer they got was the federal government giving them an alternative that flat out didn’t work. All of the efforts and anguish of these people in Alaska went to naught because a bureaucracy here decided they knew best, despite what the people of Alaska needed. [do] those of us sitting here 6,000 miles away really have the superior wisdom to tell those people living in King Cove how they should live their life? The simple solution is to build a road. The State of Alaska is giving up roughly 40,000 acres in exchange for 206 acres so the native Alaskan community can have access to medical care. This is the right this to do.”
“Mr. Speaker, this is shameful. Our citizens should not to wait hours for a medivac or brave treacherous seas while we sit here and debate this issue. No American should have to perish while we argue whether or not a refuge would be better off with miles of road… I urge my colleagues to think about the 19 Americans who perished for want of a gravel road.”
“For over 20 years, the people of King Cove have begged for this life-saving road for their safety. Not a major interstate, not a parkway, just a one lane road. It requires only 206 acres of the 59 million acres of designated federal Wilderness in Alaska.”
“H.R. 218 authorizes the commonsense land exchange between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of the Alaska that will save lives and tax payer money. The bill provides significant benefits for all parties, including tribal members, supporters of fish and wildlife, supporters of the environment, and supporters of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, and most importantly the people living in the surrounding areas that need access to critical medical and healthcare services.”
H.R. 218, introduced by Congressman Don Young on January 3, 2017, authorizes an equal value land exchange to facilitate the construction of a road linking the City of King Cove and the City of Cold Bay. Under an equal value land exchange, up to 43,093 acres of non-federal lands owned by the State of Alaska could be transferred to the Department of the Interior (DOI) and added to the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge as designated Wilderness. In return, the State of Alaska will receive 206 acres of federal lands for the construction of an 11-mile, gravel, one-lane, non-commercial road segment that will connect existing roads on both sides of the refuge. The corridor would account for approximately 0.06 percent of the 315,000-acre Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Currently, 131 acres of the proposed 206 acre project are designated as Wilderness.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources convened an oversight hearing titled "Promoting Onshore Oil and Gas Development in Alaska" to evaluate new opportunities for development in Alaska, particularly in areas of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
“This hearing and the many conversations ahead are important steps for Alaska’s future,” Chairman Emeritus Don Young said following yesterday’s hearing. “As we work to refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and unleash Alaska’s energy potential, we must look for new opportunities to stabilize the regulatory environment, strengthen opportunities on the North Slope, and begin the process for unleashing the energy rich deposits within ANWR’s 1002. Today’s hearing, which included representatives from industry, regional corporations and labor, shows that Alaskans are united in our support for the responsible growth of our energy sector and economy. We understand that developing our state’s God-given natural resources can be done safely and to great benefit of our people and nation.”
Alaska witnesses testify before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources (click here to watch full committee hearing)
The hearing, which featured a panel of four Alaskan witnesses, highlighted numerous benefits new exploration and developments upon federal lands in Alaska would provide local communities and the nation as whole. A number of highlights are included below:
Richard Glenn, Executive Vice President for Lands and Natural Resources of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (click here to watch):
Gary Dixon, Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 959 Alaska (click here to watch):
Scott Jepsen, Vice President of External Affairs and Transportation at ConocoPhillips Alaska (click here to watch):
Congressman Don Young, Chairman Emeritus of the House Natural Resources Committee (click here to watch):
Click here for more information on the oversight hearing entitled “Promoting Onshore Oil and Gas Development in Alaska.”
Click here to view full witness testimony.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, and U.S. Rep. Don Young, all R-Alaska, and Gov. Bill Walker, I-Alaska, yesterday sent a letter to Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao urging them to work together to resolve long-standing delays over the Cooper Landing Bypass in southcentral Alaska.
“We write to seek your coordinated assistance to resolve one of the longest-running regulatory disputes in Alaska,” the group wrote. “The dispute centers on the relocation of a 15-mile segment of Alaska Highway 1 (the Sterling Highway, from Milepost 45 to Milepost 60) along the Kenai River near Cooper Landing. We are now in the midst of the third Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a new road segment in this area, but like most Alaskans, believe the Juneau Creek Alternative is by far the best option to improve safety and protect the local environment.”
The letter urges the secretaries to select the Juneau Creek Alternative because it can meet the state’s long-standing goal of building a bypass away from the Kenai River and around the tourist areas at Cooper Landing. The Juneau Creek Alternative is the best option to reduce traffic, accidents, and the potential for fuel and chemical spills into salmon streams and wildlife habitat. It is widely supported by Alaskans on the Kenai Peninsula.
“Alaskans and many others, representing a diverse array of interests and concerns, agree that the best route for a bypass is the Juneau Creek Alternative,” the group noted. “It will run 1.5 miles north of Kenai Lake, so it will not require any construction delays or new bridges crossing the rivers and will protect salmon and other key ecosystem drivers from most sediment and road runoff.”
The letter calls on the Departments to work together on this critical issue, which has gone unresolved for more than four decades.
“It is critical to the safety and health of both Alaskan motorists and our world-class salmon fisheries that your Departments work together to resolve this complicated issue before the completion of the current environmental review process,” the group concluded. “Accordingly, we urge you to actively support the selection of the Juneau Creek Alternative as the final preferred alternative for the bypass and take all other steps needed to allow the bypass to be constructed.”
A copy of the letter can be found here.
Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, bipartisan legislation that focuses on reforming, repairing and rebuilding our nation’s military. The bill authorizes $695.9 billion in national defense spending for both domestic and overseas contingency operations, including a 2.4% pay increase for our troops, increases in end strength for each of the Armed Forces, and robust support for facilities and equipment modernization.
Congressman Young speaking on the passage of the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (click here to watch).
“I’m happy to report to the Alaskan people that today we passed the National Defense Authorization Act; it was a good bill,” said Congressman Don Young. “It’s a bill that will train our troops, provide for our troops, give them raises, give them the equipment they need, and make sure the planes fly. Overall, it’s a good piece of legislation for the freedom of America. I’m very proud to be part of it and was happy to include a number of my amendments to the bill. One amendment would to authorize an addition of 28 ground-based interceptors – like those at Fort Greely. This is something Senator Sullivan and I have been working very hard on and we got it included in the House bill, which makes me very happy. We also have an authorization for icebreakers in the national defense bill. We believe this will allow the icebreakers to be built sooner than if the Coast Guard was operating on their own… I’m most proud of the fact that for the first time in eight years we’ll have the ability to ensure our troops are properly trained and properly provided with the equipment they need. I’m happy to report that we’ve been able to do this in a bipartisan way and it’s a very, very good bill. I feel much better today than I did yesterday about the security of this nation.”
The FY18 NDAA takes important steps to support our military men and women and their families, ensure our troops are trained and equipped, and restores military readiness. The bill outlines key national security policies, include efforts to combat ISIS, for the coming Fiscal Year. Congressman Young worked throughout the legislative process to include Alaska-focused priorities within the House-passed NDAA:
Arctic Security Capability and Resources Gap (Young Amendment):
Additional language in the NDAA secured by Congressman Young:
Additional Items of Interest Included in the FY17 NDAA:
Washington, D.C. – Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives will focus its efforts on a number of Alaska-related items, including Congressman Don Young’s legislation to authorize the construction of a life-saving road from King Cove to Cold Bay, an oversight hearing on the development of Alaska’s onshore energy resources and a subcommittee review of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
U.S. House to Consider Young’s King Cove Land Transfer Act:
Today, during the end-of-week colloquy, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced next week’s consideration of H.R. 218, the King Cove Land Exchange Act, on the floor of the U.S. House.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy discussing House schedule, including consideration of H.R. 218 (click here to watch).
The legislation – introduced by Congressman Don Young on the first day of the 115th Congress – will authorize an equal value land exchange to facilitate the construction of a life-saving road from King Cove to Cold Bay. Since passage of H.R. 218 in the House Natural Resources Committee, Young has worked with Majority Leader McCarthy and House leadership to move this legislation to the full House in order to resolve this longstanding issue in the near term. H.R. 218 is expected to reach the floor on Thursday, July 20, 2017.
Subcommittee to Consider Ways to Develop Alaska’s Onshore Energy Resources:
On Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM (AK), 2:00 PM (Eastern) the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing titled “Promoting Onshore Oil and Gas Development in Alaska.”
WHEN: Tuesday, July 18 @ 10:00AM (AK), 2:00 PM (Eastern)
WHERE: 1324 Longworth House Office Building or live streamed here.
This hearing will evaluate opportunities for new onshore oil and gas development on Federal lands in the State of Alaska, including areas of the National Strategic Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) and the Coastal Plain of ANWR. Witnesses include four Alaskans:
*For additional information on the hearing, click here.
Subcommittee Review on the Performance of the Magnuson-Stevens Act:
On Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM (AK), 2:00 PM (Eastern) the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold an oversight hearing titled “Exploring the Successes and Challenges of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA).”
WHEN: Wednesday, July 19 @ 10:00 AM (AK), 2:00 PM (Eastern)
WHERE: 1324 Longworth House Office Building or live streamed here.
As Chairman Emeritus of the House Natural Resources Committee and an original author of the 1976 MSA, Congressman Young has been selected to lead MSA reauthorization efforts in the U.S. House. Young is the sponsor of H.R. 200, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, which provides a number of modest but necessary updates to our nation’s fisheries management policies.
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.
TY for standing w/ people of King Cove. After 30+years, its past time we resolve this life or death issue. https://t.co/hCHFXwQLBn