Representative Don Young, a longtime Alaska congressman, has died at the age of 88

Juneau, Alaska – Don Young, a blunt-speaking Republican who was the longest-serving member of Congress, has died. He was 88 years old.

His office announced Yang’s death in a statement Friday night.

“It is with heavy heart and deep sorrow that we announce that Congressman Don Young (R-AK), the Dean of the House and honorary champion for Alaska, has died today while traveling home in Alaska to live with the state and people he loved.” His beloved wife Ann was by his side, “said a statement from Young’s congressional office.

The cause of death was not given. Yang’s office said details about Yang’s life were expected in the coming days.

Young, who was first elected to the US House in 1973, was known for his brass style. In his later years in office, his colorful comments and negligence sometimes overshadowed his work. During his 2014 re-election bid, he described himself as intense and less-than-perfect but said he would not stop fighting for Alaska.

Born June 9, 1933, in Meridian, California, Young grew up on a family farm. He graduated from Chico State College in 1958 with a degree in teaching, now known as California State University, Chico.

Young arrived in Alaska in 1959, the same year Alaska became a state and gave credit to Jack London’s “Call of the Wild”, which his father read to him, for drawing him north.

“I can’t stand the heat, and I was working on a farm and I dreamed of some cool place, and no snakes and no venomous oak,” Young told the Associated Press in 2016. After leaving the military and following his father’s death, he told his mother that he was going to Alaska. He questioned her decision.

“I said, ‘I want to chase dogs, catch fur and mine gold.’ And I did, “he said. In Alaska, he met his first wife, Lou, who persuaded him to enter politics, which he said was unfortunate in a sense – it sent him to Washington, D.C.,” more than hell in the summer. A heated place 7 And there are a lot of snakes here, two-legged snakes. “

In Alaska, Young Fort settled in Yukon, a small community primarily accessible by air at the confluence of the Yukon and Porkupine rivers in the rough, rugged interior of the state. He works in areas such as construction, trapping and commercial fishing. He was a tug and barge operator who delivered to villages along the Yukon River, and according to his biography, taught fifth grade at the Bureau of Indian Affairs school. Along with Lou, he had two daughters, Johnny and Don.

He was elected mayor of Fort Yukon in 1964 and was elected to the State House two years later. He served two terms before winning the state Senate election, where he said he was unhappy. Lu said he would have to quit his job, which he resisted, saying he would not leave. He recalls that he encouraged her instead to compete in the US House, saying that he would never win.

In 1972, Young was a Republican opponent of Nick Begich, a Democratic U.S. Republican. Three weeks before the election, Begich’s plane went missing on a flight from Anchorage to Junou. The Alaskans somehow re-elected Begich.

Begich was pronounced dead in December 1972, and Young won a close special election in March 1973. He held the seat until 2022, when he was running for re-election against a field that included one of Begich’s grandchildren, Republican Nick Begich III.

In 2013, Young became the longest-serving member of the Alaskan congressional delegation, surpassing the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who served for 40 years. That year, he also became the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. House.

Known for decades managing federal spending in his home state, Young Alaska won 23 23.7 million for a government-wide বি 1.5 trillion spending bill for water, roads and other projects President Joe Biden signed into law this week, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. This is one of the highest amounts for a home-district project that any member of the House had by law.

In 2015, almost six years after Lu Young’s death, and on his 82nd birthday, Young married Ann Garland Walton in a private ceremony at the US Capitol Chapel.

“Everyone knows Don Young,” he told the AP in 2016. “They may not like Don Young; They may love Don Young. But they all know Don Young.

Young said he wants his legacy to work for the people. One of the highlights of his career was passing legislation in his first year in office that allowed the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, which became the state’s economic lifeline. With that successful pipeline fight, “I found a niche in my life where I enjoy working for Alaska and the people of this nation – primarily for the people of Alaska,” Young said in 2016, adding later: “I love the House.”

Throughout his career, he advocated earmarks as a way to bring home projects and build infrastructure in a geographically vast state where communities stretch from large cities to small villages; Critics regarded earmarks as pork.

Young identified himself as a conservative and won the support of voters for his right to guns and hunting and his position on a strong military. He made a career out of railing against “extreme environmentalists” and a federal bureaucracy that he saw as a lock-up of Alaska’s mineral, wood and petroleum resources. He said his word was “golden bond.”

He said that every time he was happy to help an election. “And I try to do it every day, and I’m very good at it,” he told the AP in 2016. At the time, he said he had passed 190 bills, 77 of which were signed by a president.

His career was marred by scrutiny and criticism of his off-the-cuff and often abrasive style.

In 2008, Congress asked the Judiciary to investigate Young’s role in allocating 10 million to widen the Florida Highway; The matter was dropped in 2010, and Young denied any wrongdoing.

In December 2011, the U.S. House Ethics Committee stated that it was amending its rules to impose new contribution limits on owners of multiple companies, following questions raised by the Congressional Ethics Office about youth grants.

In 2014, the ethics committee found that Young had violated House rules by using promotional funds for personal travel and accepting inappropriate gifts. Young was asked to pay for the trip and gifts, totaling about $ 59,000, and to amend the financial disclosure statement to include gifts that he did not report. The committee also issued a “letter of reprimand” or reprimand. Young said he was sorry for the “situation” and apologized for failing to exercise “due care” in complying with the House’s code of conduct.

After winning re-election in 2020, Young announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19, a few months later referring to the coronavirus as a “beer virus” in front of an audience including older Alaskans, and said that the media contributed to the hysteria over COVID. . -19.

He later called COVID-19, for which he was hospitalized, urging him to follow the guidelines to protect Alaskan from serious illness.

Despite the controversy, voters continued to send him back to Washington, which Young said he did not approve.

In 2016, he said, “Alaskans have been generous in their support of me because they know I have done the job.” He said, “I will defend my kingdom to the point of death, and I will always do it and they know it.”

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Contributed by Alan Fram, Associated Press Journalist in Washington.

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