At 88, Rep. Don Young, long-serving Alaska congressman, has died.

Alaska Rep. Don Young, the longest-serving Republican in U.S. House history, has passed away. He was 88.

At 88, Rep. Don Young, long-serving Alaska congressman, has died.

His office released a statement Friday night confirming the death of Young.

"It is with deep sorrow and heavy hearts that we announce that Congressman Don Young (R.AK), the Dean and champion for Alaska, has died today. He was returning home to Alaska to be with his family and the people he loved. Young's congressional office released a statement saying that his beloved wife Anne was at his side.

The cause of death has not been disclosed. Young's office stated that details regarding plans for Young's celebration of life would be revealed in the coming days.

Young was the first person elected to the U.S. House. He was elected in 1973. His off-color remarks and gaffes often overshadowed his work in his later years. He described himself as intense, less-than-perfect and said that he would continue fighting for Alaska. Alaska only has one House member.

Young was born in Meridian, California on June 9, 1933. He grew up on a farm. Chico State College awarded him a bachelor's in teaching in 1958. According to his official biography, he also served in the U.S. Army.

Young arrived in Alaska in 1959. This was the same year Alaska became an independent state. He credits Jack London's "Call of the Wild", which his father used as a book, with drawing him north.

Young stated that he cannot stand heat and had worked on a ranch. He used to fantasize about a cold place with no snakes or poison oak. Young spoke to The Associated Press in 2016. He told his mother that he was leaving the military after the death of his father. She questioned his decision.

He said that he had said "I'm going up (to drive dogs, catch fur, and mine gold")" Lu, his first wife, met him in Alaska. She convinced him to get into politics. There are many snakes in this area, including two-legged snakes.

Young settled in Alaska's Fort Yukon. This small community is accessible only by air and is located at the confluence the Yukon River and the Porcupine Rivers in Alaska's rugged interior. His jobs included construction, trapping, and commercial fishing. According to his biography, he was a tug-and-barge operator, delivering supplies to Yukon River villages. He also taught fifth grade at a Bureau of Indian Affairs school. He had two daughters with Lu, Joni and Dawn.

In 1964, he was elected mayor of Fort Yukon and two years later, he was elected to the state House. He was elected to the state Senate for two terms, but he claimed he was unhappy. Lu stated that he had to leave the job. He resisted and said that he didn't want to quit. He said that his mother encouraged him to run for the U.S. House and assured him that he would never win.

Young was the Republican challenger for Democratic U.S. Rep. Nick Begich in 1972. Begich's plane vanished three weeks before the election on a flight from Anchorage, Alaska to Juneau. Alaskans elected Begich.

Begich was declared deceased in December 1972. Young won an extremely close special election in February 1973. Young held the seat until his passing. He ran for reelection against a field that also included Republican Nicholas Begich III, one of Begich’s grandsons.

Young was elected the longest-serving member Alaska's congressional delegation in 2013. He surpassed Ted Stevens (who served for 40 years) as the last.

Nearly six years after Lu Young's passing, Young married Anne Garland Walton, in a private ceremony at the Capitol chapel.

He told the AP that "Everybody knows Don Young" in 2016. They may not love Don Young, but they might like him. They all know Don Young.

Young, despite being often gregarious, had a sense for humor and camaraderie with colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

Young, the House member who served the longest, swear in Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat. This was three days before the attack by Trump supporters on the Capitol. Young expressed concern about the intense partisanship during the period before Young administered the oath.

He said, drawing laughter from the audience and receiving applause.

Pelosi stated that Young's "reverence, devotion to the House shone in all that he did." Pelosi called him "an institution within the hallowed halls Congress."

She stated that photos of him signing his bills into law with 10 presidents, Republicans, and Democrats "are a testimony to his longevity as well as his legislative mastery."

Young, who has been a leader in federal spending control for his home state for many decades, was awarded $23.7 million to Alaska to fund water, road, and other projects under the $1.5 trillion spending bill that President Joe Biden signed this week. According to analysis by The Associated Press, that bill. This is the largest amount for home-district projects any House member has ever received in legislation.

Young stated that he wants his legacy to be one of working with the people. Young cites as one of his career highlights the passage of legislation in his first year of office that allowed construction of the trans-Alaska pipe system. This was the state's economic salvation. Young stated that he found a niche in his life where he enjoyed working for Alaskans and the nation, primarily Alaskans. He added later that he likes the House.

He supported earmarks throughout his career as a way of bringing home projects and building up infrastructure in a state that is geographically vast. There are many communities from small villages to large cities. Critics regarded earmarks to be pork.

Young was a conservative who won voters' support for his gun rights, hunting rights, and strong military. Young made a career of railing against "extreme environmentists" as well as a federal bureaucracy he believed was enforcing Alaska's petroleum, mineral, and timber resources. He claimed that his word was a "gold-bond."

He stated that he is happy whenever he can help a constituent. He told AP that he tries to do this every day and is very good at it.

His career was marred in the face of criticism and investigations about his outlandish and sometimes abrasive style.

Congress requested that the Justice Department investigate Young's involvement in securing $10 million in earmarks to widen a Florida highway. The matter was dropped in 2010 and Young denied any wrongdoing.

The U.S. House Ethics Committee announced in December 2011 that it was revising its rules for imposing new contribution limits to owners of multiple companies. This follows questions from the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics regarding donations to Young's legal expense fund.

The ethics committee discovered that Young violated House rules in 2014 by using campaign funds to pay for personal trips and receiving improper gifts. Young was instructed to pay $59,000 for the gifts and to amend his financial disclosure statements to reflect gifts that he had not reported. A "letter of reproval" or rebuke was also issued by the committee. Young acknowledged regret for the "oversights" and apologised for not exercising "due care" when complying with House's Code of Conduct.

Young, fresh off his 2020 reelection win, announced that he had tested positive to COVID-19. This was months after Young had called the coronavirus the "beervirus" in front of an audience that included older Alaskans. He also said the media had contributed greatly to the hysteria about COVID-19.

Later, he called COVID-19 (for which he was hospitalized), serious and encouraged Alaskans follow guidelines to prevent the disease.

Young claimed that Young was not taken for granted by the fact that voters kept sending him back to Washington.

He stated that the Alaskans were generous in their support of him because they knew I would get the job done. "I will defend my state until the end, and I will always do so and they know it."


 

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