This week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a series of bills related to ending the national growing opioid abuse crisis. The House voted on close to 40 pieces of legislation that address treatment and recovery options, prioritize prevention, protect communities and fight the fentanyl crisis. Alaska Congressman Don Young issued the following statement:
“The opioid crisis is one that plagues every community in Alaska and across the country which requires swift action,” said Congressman Young. “Nearly every person has a story about how the opioid crisis has impacted them and in Alaska
To read more about what House Republicans are doing to combat the opioid crisis, click here.
In October 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. Congress has been taking action to draft and consider legislation to combat the crisis. This week, the House voted on more than 40 bills from different committees that seek to provide treatment and recovery options, prioritize prevention, protect communities by equipping law enforcement with the necessary tools and a more aggressive strategy to fighting the fentanyl crisis.
The bills voted on this week were:
BY REPS. SUZANNE BONAMICI (D-ORE.) AND DON YOUNG (R-ALASKA), OPINION
Oceans cover more than 70 percent of our planet and are home to more than a thousand species of marine life. Oceans generate the oxygen that we breathe. They regulate our climate and provide healthy meals for people daily. Coastal communities rely on healthy oceans—as do shellfish, fish, marine mammals, birds, and ecosystems around the world. June 8 is World Oceans Day which serves a reminder that regardless of where we live or our political party, we must remain committed to protect, conserve, maintain, and rebuild our ocean resources.
Oceans are an economic force as well. Across the United States the ocean economy supports more than 3 million jobs and contributes at least $352 billion in economic activity annually. Changes in ocean chemistry pose a very real threat to those marine resources, industries, and jobs. Oceans are changing rapidly; if we do not act soon the consequences could be devastating.
The health of our oceans is a reflection of the health of our planet. We need to improve our understanding of the implications of environmental stressors, such as harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, marine debris, warming and more acidic ocean waters, overfishing, and rising sea levels. These problems are indicators of a changing climate, and they threaten our economy and the livelihood of millions of people.
Ocean acidification, in particular, is a significant threat to our oceans, coastal estuaries, waterways, coastal communities, and industries. As water chemistry becomes more acidic on the West Coast, shellfish larvae struggle to build shells. Oysters and clams are especially vulnerable. In New England, clams are actually dissolving in mudflats—a preview of the negative effects of ocean acidification. In Maine, fishermen are concerned about the repercussions for the state’s iconic lobster industry. Emerging research from Alaska indicates that ocean acidification could have devastating effects on commercially valuable red king crab and Tanner crab populations. Across the country consumers, grocery stores, and the restaurant industry will be affected by the changes in ocean chemistry when stable supplies of seafood and shellfish are threatened.
Oceans are resilient and we can help them heal, but we cannot afford to wait. The time to take action is now.
As the co-chairs of the bipartisan Oceans Caucus, we are fighting to protect the health and future of our oceans. We have led efforts to increase federal investments in a national integrated system to gather data about rising sea levels, coastal flooding, harmful algal blooms, and hypoxia. We support funding for the Sea Grant program, which leverages public dollars for research, education, extension and outreach activities. We are advocating for programs that help rebuild commercial and recreational fisheries and the recovery of the Pacific wild salmon and steelhead stocks. We have introduced the Save Our Seas Act to assist local communities and states in removing garbage and debris from our oceans and our shores. We are also working on legislation to expand scientific research and monitoring to improve our understanding of ocean acidification. These efforts will help vulnerable communities and industries understand, prepare for, and, where possible, adapt to changing ocean conditions.
Our oceans cannot wait any longer.
Bonamici and Young are Co-Chairs of the House Oceans Caucus.
To see the original post, click here.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 8 the Water Resources Development Act of 2018. Alaska Congressman Don Young, member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, secured numerous provisions in the bill. On the House Floor today, Congressman Young introduced an amendment to address an issue affecting Seward, Alaska which passed by voice vote.
“I appreciate Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio and their staff for their help in getting this amendment to the floor,” said Congressman Young. “This amendment requires the Secretary [of Defense] to conduct an assessment of dams classified as Class III under the Dam Safety Action Classification of the Army Corps of Engineers. Once the assessment is complete, this amendment requires the Secretary [of Defense] to provide a report to Congress describing two things: what will happen to local communities should the Corps give up control of the dam and what will happen if the Corps continues to maintain the dam.”
Watch Congressman Young’s Floor remarks here.
Congressman Young continued, “This amendment is critical to this Alaskan community because it prevents Seward from bearing undue hardships from frequent flooding and continuous damage to the outfall due to unforeseen design faults. This amendment would continue to require the Corps to expedite this study and place a critical importance on fixing the dam system for my constituents.”
“I thank the gentleman from Alaska for offering this amendment,” said T&I Committee Chairman Bill Shuster. “As always, the gentleman is looking out for the state of Alaska and small and rural towns across America. This is an important issue and I thank my colleague for working on this amendment.”
H.R. 8 passed out of the House by a vote of 408-2 with Congressman Young’s support. The Water Resources Development Act of 2018 (WRDA) represents Congress’ continued investment in vital American infrastructure. This bipartisan legislation provides for improvements to the Nation’s ports, inland waterways, locks, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and other water resources infrastructure.
Congressman Young secured the following provisions that will:
The Corps’ Continuing Authorities Program (CAP) is a group of nine legislative authorities under which the Corps of Engineers can plan, design, and implement certain types of water resources projects without additional project specific congressional authorization.The purpose of the CAP is to plan and implement projects of limited size, cost, scope and complexity.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5515 the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. Alaska Congressman Don Young issued the following statement of support after the bill’s passage:
“Every year, Congress passes the NDAA which authorizes our national defense spending for both domestic and overseas operations. This year’s bill ensures our military readiness by inventing and investing in new technology, war fighting tools, and increased number of troops,” said Congressman Young. “This year, I worked with my colleagues in the House and my Senators to ensure Alaska benefits from this year’s NDAA since Alaska offers so much to our military. I secured a number of amendments in the bill to help improve how our defense agencies are operating and carrying out their missions. One of my amendments will help clear the massive clearance backlog at the Department of Defense, which has impacted the American economy and especially small businesses. For our small businesses that are trying to be competitive in the federal contracting sector, this backlog has been detrimental.”
Congressman Young continued, “Because of Alaska’s strategic geographical location, we must ensure that our soldiers are adequately prepared for the unique conditions in the Arctic which is why I offered Arctic specific provisions. My amendment to update the Defense Department’s Arctic Strategy to improve and enhance joint operations was approved and this is crucial to our national security. This update is important because it will provide a more current assessment of Russia’s aggressive buildup of military assets and infrastructure in the Arctic as well as China’s growing efforts to influence Arctic policy. Additionally, this bill makes critical investments in missile defense and our nuclear deterrent, which is the cornerstone of our national security. I am proud of the fact that this bill will ensure our troops are properly trained and have access to the tools and resources they need to keep our country safe. This year’s NDAA prioritizes our strategic readiness, rebuilds our infrastructure, takes care of our troops and their families and allows our country to remain a global leader.”
The bill would authorize Defense programs at the Pentagon and other departments to receive $708.1 billion in discretionary funding. The measure also covers $9 billion in mandatory funding for a total of $717 billion. The authorization would include $639.1 billion in base funding and $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations funding. Nuclear programs at the Energy Department would be authorized to receive $22.1 billion. The measure’s authorization levels would support a 2.6% pay raise for the troops, additional ship building, aircraft procurement, and research activities. It also includes a number of provisions related to treaties with Russia, defense health programs, and military space operations.
Language Congressman Young Secured in the Bill
Floor Amendments Congressman Young Secured
Alaska Specific Victories
Today, the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act was introduced by Reps. Jared Huffman (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Donald McEachin (D-VA) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). This bill would repeal the approved, responsible resource development in the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). As the sole Representative for All Alaska in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Don Young responded to the bill:
“This ridiculous political stunt by Democrats shows they don’t consider the interests of Alaskans in their concern for the Arctic, they only have radical environmentalists in mind,” said Congressman Young. “No nation in the world has the same high standards for production or development as the United States does. Alaskans have always been the greatest stewards of our lands and we will keep it that way – to support subsistence hunting, Alaska Native culture, and our unique way of life. This land was set aside by Congress specifically for the purpose of responsible resource development which will result in thousands of jobs in Alaska, something we need right now in my state. The opening of the 1002 Area will allow Alaska to be a leader in our nation’s energy production, paving the way to our nation’s energy independence which is crucial to our national security.”
Congressman Young continued: “Our communities in Alaska are some of the most isolated in the world. Alaskans will tell you that they support resource development as a means of supporting our people – to build schools and hospitals and improve the infrastructure. I want to make sure that these Members understand what responsible resource development in the Arctic means for Alaska instead of what the environmental lobby tells them to believe. For this reason, I have invited these Members to come visit Alaska so they can see the 1002 Area for themselves. and hear from Alaskans that have long supported development. I invite them to talk with Alaska Natives that live in this area who have long supported development and who have not be bought and paid for by Earthjustice and NRDC. I hope with this trip my colleagues will leave better informed about the needs of Alaska and my constituents before pursuing this legislation any further.”
In December 2017, H.R. 1 the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed by Congress and signed into law. Along with providing historic tax relief for millions of Americans and improving the American economy, the bill included a provision to allow for the 1002 Area of ANWR to be opened for responsible resource development which will produce thousands of jobs in Alaska and generate billions of dollars to help pay down the growing $20 trillion debt.
To read the letters sent to these Members, click here.
U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young, all R-Alaska, today released the following statements after the Alaska Region of the National Park Service (NPS) proposed to amend its regulations for sport hunting and trapping on national preserves in Alaska. Under the proposed rule, the 2015 regulations will be removed to establish better consistency with the State of Alaska’s regulations.
“This is a long-awaited and welcomed announcement from the National Park Service (NPS). I am pleased by this decision to correct an illegal Obama-era power grab,” Young said. “Just last year, my bill H.J. Res. 69 was signed into law and it overturned a similar rule from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which violates Alaska’s rights. As an avid hunter and former trapper myself, I know the importance of returning the authority back to the state instead of unelected bureaucrats. I applaud NPS for this decision which will ensure that Alaska continues to have control and management authority over fish and wildlife on all lands within the state.”
“Congress explicitly provided Alaska with the authority to manage its fish and wildlife in three separate laws—the Alaska Statehood Act, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act,” Murkowski said. “This is clearly our right and our responsibility, and Alaskans take that very seriously. I thank the administration for recognizing this and working to properly align federal regulations.”
“I join countless Alaskans in welcoming this announcement, which begins the necessary process of reversing an unlawful regulatory action by the National Park Service and restoring the unique management relationship between Alaska and the federal government,” Sullivan said. “This is a victory not only as a matter of principle, but as a matter of states’ rights and the future of Alaska’s proven, science-based wildlife management strategies. Congress sent a powerful message last year with the passage and enactment of H.J. Res. 69 – which overturned a similarly overreaching rule by the Fish and Wildlife Service – that Alaskans are not going to accept this attack on our unique game management authority, guaranteed and protected in both the Alaska Statehood Act and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Today, we stand united – along with the State of Alaska and the Department of Interior – that the policies of the previous administration were a bridge too far and inconsistent with the law and the health of Alaska’s wildlife and ecosystems.”
The proposed rule was published today in the Federal Register, and opens a 60-day public comment period. This rule applies only to the national preserves in Alaska, not national parks. National preserves in Alaska are open to sport hunting, while parks are closed to hunting. The proposed rule will not impact national parks in Alaska. Click here for more information on the proposed rule.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved 14 pieces of legislation that will better serve American veterans and improve operations at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Alaska Congressman Don Young issued the following statement of support for the bills:
“Today, the House voted to prioritize the needs of our veterans and continue our efforts to reform the VA,” said Congressman Young. “These bills all seek to remedy the different challenges our veterans face when they return home. I’m proud to support these bills that will ensure that our veterans have access to reliable health care services, fight the growing homelessness crisis among veterans and deliver much needed oversight to the VA. We thank all of the brave men and women who have given so much to defend our freedoms.”
All 14 bills passed out of the House with bipartisan support.
1) H.R. 1972 - VA Billing Accountability Act
This bill would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to waive the requirement of certain veterans to make copayments for hospital care, nursing home care, medical services, or medications if 1) a VA error caused delayed notification of payment to the veteran and 2) the veteran received such notice more than 180 days after receiving the care at a VA facility or more than 18 months after receiving care at a non-VA facility.
2) H.R. 3642 - Military SAVE Act
This bill directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a three-year pilot program to improve access to private health care for veterans who are survivors of military sexual trauma.
3) H.R. 3832 - Veterans Opioid Abuse Prevention Act
This bill requires medical providers at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) who prescribe controlled substances to veterans to seek information regarding those veterans from state programs that monitor prescription drug use.
4) H.R. 3946 - To name the Department of Veterans Affairs community-based outpatient clinic in Statesboro, Georgia, the "Ray Hendrix Veterans Clinic"
5) H.R. 4245 - Veterans’ Electronic Health Record Modernization Oversight Act of 2017
This bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to submit to Congress documents related to managing the Electronic Health Record Modernization program and quarterly updates to certain documents.
6) H.R. 4830 - SIT-REP Act
This bill would amend 38 U.S. Code § 3679 so that a school is not eligible for GI Bill benefits unless it adopts a policy that protects eligible student veterans, survivors, or dependents from policies that penalize these students for their inability to meet the institution’s financial obligations because of a delayed GI Bill payment.
7) H.R. 4958 - Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2018
This bill increase the rates of Wartime Disability Compensation, Compensation for Dependents, Clothing Allowance, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to Surviving Spouse, and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to Children by the same percentage as the increase in benefits provided under title II (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) of the Social Security Act.
8) H.R. 5044 - Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act
This bill would amend 38 U.S. Code § 8127(k)(3) so that a surviving spouse of a less than 100% service-disabled veteran small business owner can maintain their priority status following their spouse’s death for three years, the date on which the surviving spouse remarries, or the date on which the surviving spouse relinquishes an ownership interest in the small business, whichever occurs first.
9) H.R. 5215 - Veterans Affairs Purchase Card Misuse Mitigation Act
This bill requires the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to revoke the purchase card or approval authority from any employee who is found to have knowingly misused their card.
10) H.R. 5418 - Veterans Affairs Medical-Surgical Purchasing Stabilization Act
This bill would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), under the Medical Surgical Prime Vendor program, to award procurement contracts to multiple regional vendors, rather than one nationwide vendor, when procuring medical supplies.
11) S. 1282 - To redesignate certain clinics of the Department of Veterans Affairs located in Montana
12) H.R. 4334 - Improving Oversight of Women Veterans’ Care Act of 2017
This bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to submit reports to Congress on the availability of gender-specific services in the community to women veterans and environment of care standards for women veterans in VA medical facilities.
13) H.R. 3663 - To designate the medical center of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Huntington, West Virginia, as the Hershel "Woody" Williams VA Medical Center
14) H.R. 4451 - Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Programs Reauthorization Act of 2018, as amended
This bill as amended, would amend U.S. Code to provide a five-year extension, through Fiscal Year 2022 of both the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Programs and the Homeless Women Veterans and Homeless Veterans with Children Reintegration Grant Program.### Read More
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives considered and approved two amendments from Alaska Congressman Don Young to H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act. The first amendment will exempt Alaska from the Clinton-era Roadless Rule and the second amendment will enhance Congressman Young’s traditional foods provision that was included in the 2014 Farm Bill. Congressman Young spoke in support of both amendments on the House Floor today.
Roadless Rule Amendment
“The Clinton-era Roadless rule applies a one-size-fits all approach to areas where those policies that rarely work. Especially the federally locked lands in Alaska,” said Congressman Young. “At 16.8 million acres, the Tongass National Forest is the largest in the nation. Coupled with the Chugach National Forest, Alaska contains over 12% of the total acreage in the national forest system. The Roadless Rule is nothing more than another effort to end the multiple use mandate of federal forest lands. Something that's required by law but often ignored by nameless, faceless, unelected bureaucrats.
“Over 90% of the Tongass is inaccessible by road. The lack of access to timber not only costs Alaskans good paying jobs, but results in trees dying of disease and infestations. To be clear, we’re not talking about clear-cutting the entire Tongass National Forest, we just want to help it stay healthy and fulfill its multi-use mandate. Those who don't manage anything, allow for it to be destroyed. If any reasonable form of timber industry is to exist in the future, we must get this exempted from the Roadless Rule as soon as possible. So I'm urging my body, this Congress to do what's right for the state of Alaska and right for the timber, right for the people that live there and depend upon a source of income.”
This amendment was approved by the House by a vote of 208-207.
Traditional Foods Amendment
“My amendment is simple. It ensures Alaska Native and American Indian populations are able to access traditional food and nutrition programs,” said Congressman Young. “Many American Indians and Alaska Natives incorporate fish, wild berries, plants into their daily diets. These foods are locally sourced and culturally significant. The cultural significance of traditional food is important in long-term care in hospital settings where an individual will likely be away from their home for extended periods and not able to carry on their traditions. It's important for Native youth to have access to traditional food for nutritional and cultural heritage.
This amendment builds on a previous provision of mine in the 2014 Farm Bill that authorized the donation and serving of traditional food which meet the safety standards and are in facilities that serve these indigenous populations. It applies to programs in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and others. No safety issues have been documented, and the food handling, storage safety standards were incorporated in my previous amendment. The standards were in part based on successful standards from Alaska which has long led the way for safety procedures for traditional foods. This amendment is truly focused on the importance of nutrition.”
This amendment was approved by the House on a voice vote.
This amendment will except National Forests in Alaska from the Roadless Rule. The 2001 Roadless Rule specifically set aside 9.5 million acres of the Tongass National Forest from road development, effectively prohibiting access to mature timber stands. The Roadless rule limits harvesting to under 8% of the Tongass. This makes conservation within the Forest more difficult because locations with less tourism and conservation value often cannot be selected for timber. Conservation and logging interests directly compete for the same limited accessible acreage. The State of Alaska sued, and was granted a temporary exemption to Roadless in 2003. At that time, the Bush administration concluded that the social and economic hardships to Southeast Alaska outweigh the potential long-term ecological benefits because the Tongass forest plan adequately provides for the ecological sustainability of the Tongass. That exemption was lifted in 2011 and the issue is currently stuck in the courts.
This amendment enhances Congressman Don Young’s provision included in the 2014 Farm Bill that ensured that traditional foods can be donated to, and offered in, any public facility that primarily serves Alaska Natives or American Indians. The 2014 provision also allowed traditional foods to be incorporated into child nutrition and senior meal programs, but unintentionally limited this allowance to those programs implemented in Native facilities. Today’s amendment fixes this by allowing traditional food in all child nutrition and senior meal initiatives regardless of location, which is important given that many Alaska Natives and American Indians participate in programs housed in facilities that aren’t specifically designated as Native.### Read More
Today, the Comprehensive TB Elimination Act of 2018, was introduced by Representatives Gene Green (D-TX), Don Young (R-AK), Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). While recent data shows that 95 percent of cases and deaths are in developing countries, tuberculosis (TB) cases continue to occur in the United States with more than 9,000 patients diagnosed annually.
“I’m proud to introduce this legislation, which reauthorizes the Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act of 2008,” said Rep. Green, original sponsor of the bill and Ranking Member of the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health. “We must continue to remain committed to providing the resources necessary to develop new tools, better diagnose TB infections and accurately identify resistant strains of drug-resistant TB.”
“In Alaska, tuberculosis is still a prominent issue which is why I’m proud to be a cosponsor of this legislation, said Rep. Young. “In 2016, we had nearly three times the national average cases of TB reported in Alaska. Eliminating TB, and the many stigmas surrounding this infectious disease, is important for the well-being of our most vulnerable communities. This bill will help to equip our public health officials with the necessary resources to effectively manage and decrease the spread of TB.”
“TB is a disease we know how to prevent, treat and cure – and yet, it remains the number one infectious killer worldwide,” said Rep. Engel. “Sadly, TB often takes the greatest toll on the most vulnerable among us, including young children. We must do more to defeat this killer once and for all, and I am proud to help lead this effort.”
“Tuberculosis should be a disease of the past but, unfortunately, over 9,000 cases are diagnosed in the United States each year,” said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. “Tuberculosis is a potentially deadly illness that we must continue to fight by innovating improved vaccines and treatments that respond to evolving strains. I’m proud to join with my colleague, Gene, in order to help eradicate the incidences of this disease in our nation.”
The Comprehensive TB Elimination Act of 2018 would update and ensure the tools necessary for public health officials to eliminate TB in the United States by providing support to domestic programs that combat tuberculosis, which include:
A copy of the bill is available HERE.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1417, the National Law Enforcement Museum Exhibits Act, introduced by Alaska Congressman Don Young.
“H.R. 1417 is a simple, straight forward bill that will treat the National Law Enforcement Museum as if it were a federal museum for purposes of obtaining, transferring and displaying certain classes of firearms,” said Congressman Young. “The Museum is dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement by providing visitors a ‘walk in the shoes’ experience. The Museum is working to expand and enrich the relationship between law enforcement and communities through the Museum’s educational journeys, immersive exhibitions, and insightful programs.
These interactive experiences will give visitors a firsthand look into almost every facet of law enforcement, while they learn about the day-to-day complexities of safeguarding our communities. They will know the real-life stories of the men and women behind the badge told throughout the museum and gain a greater appreciation those who have sacrificed to take and keep peace within our neighborhoods. This a great hall of remembrance for those who keep our peace - our law enforcement officers.”
H.R. 1417 amends the National Law Museum Enforcement Act to allow the National Law Enforcement Museum (NLEM) to acquire, possess, collect, ship, transport, import, and display firearms only for use in the NLEM. In 2000, Congress passed the National Law Enforcement Museum Act of 2000 to establish the NLEM.
The Museum was established to honor and commemorate the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers in the United States is set to open in Fall 2018. The NLEM will showcase interactive exhibits to allow visitors to experience the life of law enforcement officers. Under current law, the NLEM is limited in the types of firearms it can acquire, possess, collect, ship, transport, import or display.### Read More
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.
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