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Don Young

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Don Young

Don Young
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alaska's At-large district
Assumed office
March 6, 1973
Preceded by Nick Begich
Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Bud Shuster
Succeeded by Jim Oberstar
Chairman of the House Committee on Resources
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by George Miller
Succeeded by James V. Hansen
Member of the Alaska Senate
from the I district
In office
January 11, 1971 – March 6, 1973
Preceded by Paul Haggland
Succeeded by George Silides
Member of the Alaska House of Representatives
from the 16 district
In office
January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1971
Preceded by Multi-member district
Succeeded by Multi-member district
Mayor of Fort Yukon
In office
Preceded by Mardo Solomon
Succeeded by Robert Mott
Personal details
Born Donald Edwin Young
(1933-06-09) June 9, 1933
Meridian, California, U.S.
Political party Republican

Lu Fredson (1963–2009; her death)

Anne Garland Walton 2015-
Children Joni
Alma mater Yuba College
California State University, Chico
Religion Episcopalianism
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1955–1957
Unit 41st Tank Battalion

Donald Edwin "Don" Young (born June 9, 1933) is an American politician and member of the Republican Party who has served as the U.S. Representative for Alaska's at-large congressional district since March 1973.

Born in California, Young moved to Alaska in 1959. His political career began in 1964, when he was elected Mayor of Fort Yukon. He served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971 and then in the Alaska Senate from 1971 to 1973. He first ran for Congress in 1972, but lost to incumbent Democrat Nick Begich, who disappeared in a plane crash days before the election. Begich was declared legally dead in December 1972 and Young won the resultant special election in March 1973. Young has been re-elected twenty-one times, usually without significant opposition, although he did face strong challenges in the 1974, 1990, 1992 and 2008 general elections and in the 2008 primary election.

Young is the Dean of the Alaskan congressional delegation, the third most-senior U.S. Representative and the most-senior Republican Representative. He serves on and is the second-highest ranking Republican on the Natural Resources and Transportation and Infrastructure committees. He chaired the former committee from 1995 to 2001 and the latter committee from 2001 to 2007. During his long career, Young has been involved in several controversies and has made numerous controversial comments. He has twice faced federal investigation but has never been charged with wrongdoing.


  • Early life, education, and pre-political career 1
  • Early political career 2
  • U.S. House of Representatives 3
    • Elections 3.1
      • 1972–1974 3.1.1
      • 1976–2006 3.1.2
      • 2008 3.1.3
      • 2010–2016 3.1.4
    • Tenure 3.2
      • "Bridge to Nowhere" controversy 3.2.1
      • Knik Arm Bridge 3.2.2
        • 2007 Federal Investigation
        • 2013 Federal Investigation
      • Allegations of campaign fund misuse and earmark misuse 3.2.3
      • Comments on the Deepwater Horizon Spill 3.2.4
      • Support for oil drilling in ANWR 3.2.5
      • Use of a Latino slur on the radio 3.2.6
      • Suicide comments 3.2.7
    • Committee assignments 3.3
    • Caucus memberships 3.4
  • Personal life 4
  • Electoral history 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

Early life, education, and pre-political career

Young was born in Meridian, Sutter County, California. He earned an associate's degree in education from Yuba College in 1952 and a bachelor's degree from Chico State College in 1958. He served in the Army from 1955 to 1957.[1]

Young moved to Alaska in 1959, not long after it became a state. He eventually settled in Fort Yukon, a 700-person city on the Yukon River, seven miles above the Arctic Circle in Alaska’s central interior region. He made a living in construction, fishing, trapping and gold mining. He captained a tugboat and ran a barge operation to deliver products and supplies to villages along the Yukon River. He still holds his mariner's license. During the winter, he taught fifth grade at the local Bureau of Indian Affairs elementary school.

Early political career

Young began his political career in 1964 when he was elected Mayor of Fort Yukon, serving from 1964 to 1968. He also ran for the Alaska House of Representatives in 1964, but finished tenth, with the top seven candidates being elected for the multi-member district.[2] He was elected to the State House in 1966 and re-elected in 1968.[3][4] He "loved" the job, serving two full terms before he "got ambitious" and ran for the Alaska Senate in 1970.[5] He was elected to the two-member District I alongside long-serving Republican State Senator John Butrovich Jr.[6] He "hated" the State Senate and, after encouragement from his wife, ran for Congress in 1972.[5]

U.S. House of Representatives

Oil on canvas, Charlen J. Satrom, 1996 Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives



Democratic State Senator Nick Begich was elected to the House of Representatives in 1970, to succeed Republican Howard Wallace Pollock, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for Governor of Alaska. Young ran against Begich in 1972 and placed second in the August 22 open primary with 13,958 votes (25.60%) to Begich's 37,873 (69.45%).[7] Begich disappeared in a plane crash on October 16, 1972, 22 days before the November 7 general election. Begich won the general election with 53,651 votes (56.24%) to Young's 41,750 (43.76%)[8] but was declared dead on December 29.

Young ran in the special election on March 6, 1973, and defeated Democrat Emil Notti by 35,044 votes (51.41%) to 33,123 (48.59%).[9] He won a full term in 1974 with 51,641 votes (53.84%) to Democratic State Senator Willie Hensley's 44,280 (46.16%).[10] He credits his victory to his leadership of the fight for the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System.[11]


Young was re-elected with at least 55% of the vote in all of the subsequent seven elections. He defeated former State Senator Eben Hopson with 71% of the vote in 1976,[12] State Senator Patrick Rodey with 55.41% of the vote in 1978,[13] Kevin "Pat" Parnell with 73.79% of the vote in 1980[14] and Dave Carlson with 70.84% of the vote in 1982.[15]

In 1984 and 1986, he defeated Nick Begich's wife, Pegge Begich, by 113,582 votes (55.02%) to 86,052 (41.68%) and by 101,799 votes (56.47%) to 74,053 (41.08%), respectively.[16] He defeated Peter Gruenstein with 62.5% of the vote in 1988[17] and then faced John Devens, the Mayor of Valdez, in 1990 and 1992. Young defeated him by 99,003 votes (51.66%) to 91,677 (47.84%) in 1990[18] and then faced a serious challenge in 1992. He was challenged in the Republican primary by State Senator Virginia M. Collins and defeated her by 24,869 votes (52.98%) to 19,774 (42.12%).[19] In the general election, he was re-elected against Devens by 111,849 votes (46.78%) to 102,378 (42.82%).[20] This is both the lowest winning percentage of his career and the only time he has won without a majority of the vote.

He defeated former

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Nick Begich
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alaska's At-large congressional district

Preceded by
George Miller
Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee
Succeeded by
James V. Hansen
Preceded by
Bud Shuster
Chairman of the House Transportation Committee
Succeeded by
Jim Oberstar
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Bill Young
Most Senior Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Charles Rangel
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Jim Sensenbrenner

External links

  • Donald Young at 100 Years of Alaska's Legislature
  • Don Young caught lying about debate over emissions bill Alaska Report, May 20, 2006
  • Don Young Gives Self Fictitious "Hero of the Taxpayer" Award from Watchdog Group July 25, 2008

Further reading

  1. ^ "Veterans in the US House of Representatives 109th Congress" (PDF). Navy League. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2006-12-09. 
  2. ^ "AK State House 16 1964". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  3. ^ "AK State House 16 1966". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  4. ^ "AK State House 16 1968". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Don Young, 81, files to run for re-election". Alaska Pipeline. February 19, 2015. Retrieved April 18, 2015. 
  6. ^ "AK Senate I 1970". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  7. ^ "AK At-Large – Open Primary 1972". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  8. ^ "AK At-Large 1972". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  9. ^ "AK At-Large- Special Election 1973". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  10. ^ "AK At-Large 1974". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Congressman Don Young, Congressman For All Alaska: Biography
  12. ^ "AK At-Large 1976". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  13. ^ "AK At-Large 1978". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  14. ^ "AK At-Large 1978". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  15. ^ "AK At-Large 1982". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  16. ^ "AK At-Large 1984". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  17. ^ "AK At-Large 1988". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  18. ^ "AK At-Large 1990". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  19. ^ "AK At-Large – R Primary 1992". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  20. ^ "AK At-Large 1992". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  21. ^ "AK At-Large 1994". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  22. ^ "AK At-Large 1996". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  23. ^ "AK At-Large 1998". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  24. ^ "AK At-Large 2000". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  25. ^ "AK At-Large 2002". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  26. ^ "AK At-Large 2004". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  27. ^ "AK At-Large 2006". OurCampaigns. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  28. ^ Ben Pershing (2008-07-01). Don Young Brings Out the Big Guns The Washington Post, retrieved on 2008-07-15.
  29. ^ Mike Huckabee. Rep. Young (Updated) Huck PAC Blog, Retrieved on 2008-07-15.
  30. ^ Anne Sutton, "No recount in GOP race for Alaska's House seat", Associated Press, September 18, 2008.
  31. ^ Haplin, James. "GOP primary comes down to overseas ballots, likely recount". Anchorage Daily News. September 9, 2008. Retrieved September 18, 2008.
  32. ^ Sutton, Anne. "Young wins Alaska House primary by 304 votes". Anchorage Daily News. September 18, 2008. Retrieved September 18, 2008.
  33. ^, Young retains US House seat in Alaska
  34. ^, Young retains US House seat in Alaska
  35. ^ , The other congressional race – Berkowitz concedes to YoungAnchorage Daily News
  36. ^ SEAN COCKERHAM "Young announces he'll seek 20th term in Congress: Politics". Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  37. ^ MARY PEMBERTON The Associated Press (2010-01-22). "Former ACS exec to try for Young's job: Rep. Don Young". Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  38. ^ SEAN COCKERHAM "Halcro says he'll challenge Young in GOP House primary: Politics". Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  39. ^ Election Night 2010: Incumbents Parnell and Young Re-Elected, Possibly Murkowski [[Alaska Public Radio Network|APRN 3-10-2010]
  40. ^ "AK At-Large – R Primary Race – Aug 28, 2012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  41. ^ Thiessen, Mark. "The Associated Press – Rep. Don Young wins GOP primary for US House seat". The Associated Press. Associated Press. Retrieved September 2, 2012. 
  42. ^ "AK – At-Large Race – Nov 06, 2012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  43. ^ "2014 Primary Elections August 19, 2014 Official Results". State of Alaska Division of Elections. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  44. ^
  45. ^ a b c Dickinson, Tim (2006-10-17). "The 10 Worst Congressmen". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2015-09-18. 
  46. ^ 2006 U. S. Congress Ratings
  47. ^ Hon. Don Young (Alaska – at large) Legislation Release
  48. ^ Homans, Charles (August 30, 2008). "Waving an "Oosik" to Make a Point". New Republic (Tampa Bay Times). 
  49. ^ "Ex-aide to GOP's Don Young Goes to Work for Dems". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. August 31, 2011. 
  50. ^ """Republican Congressman Don Young to Local Radio Station: "We Used to Hire 50-60 Wetbacks to Pick Tomatoes. March 28, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  51. ^ Medred, Craig (29 March 2013). "A look back at Don Young's illustrious history of pissing off Americans". Alsaka Dispatch. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  52. ^ "GovTrack: House Vote on Conference Report: S. 900 [106th]: Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act". 1999-11-04. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  53. ^ "Who's Whining Now? Economists Hit Gramm". 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  54. ^ Paletta, Damian; Scannell, Kara (2009-03-10). "Ten Questions for Those Fixing the Financial Mess". The Wall Street Journal. 
  55. ^ Bill Summary & Status – 107th Congress (2001 – 2002) – H.R.3150 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)
  56. ^ a b c d e f North to Alaska, The Politico dated July 17, 2007.
  57. ^ "Congressman Don Young". Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  58. ^ "Don Young – Political Positions – Project Vote Smart". Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  59. ^ "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers 112th Congressional List" (PDF). Americans for Tax Reform. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  60. ^ Risen, Clay (2005-08-03). "Driven to Distraction". The New Republic. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  61. ^ Murray, Shailagh (2005-07-30). "After 2-Year Wait, Passage Comes Easily". The Washington Post. p. A09. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  62. ^ Golden Fleece: $190 Million Bridge to Nowhere (PDF), 2003-06-09, retrieved 2013-06-21 
  63. ^ Clarren, Rebecca (2005-08-09). "A bridge to nowhere". Salon. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  64. ^ "'"Alaska: End Sought For 'bridge To Nowhere. The New York Times. 2007-09-22. 
  65. ^ "Final Days of Don Young's Way?". Taxpayers for Common Sense. June 9, 2008. 
  66. ^ Mauer, Richard (2005-12-19). "Bridge would help Young's son-in-law". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 2008-10-31. To state Board of Fisheries chairman Art Nelson, Don Young's Way, the proposed Knik Arm crossing named after his father-in-law, is hardly a bridge to nowhere.
    For Nelson and his well-connected partners in Point Bluff LLC, Rep. Don Young's span is in fact a bridge to somewhere: their 60 acres of unobstructed view property on the Point MacKenzie side of Cook Inlet.
  67. ^ "Paper reports Young's Veco ties investigated", Associated Press, July 25, 2007
  68. ^ Bribery, "Bribery allegations surface against Alaska Rep. Young", McClatchy Newspapers, October 22, 2009
  69. ^ Bresnahan, John (March 19, 2013). "House Ethics Committee opens probes into Don Young, Rob Andrews". Politico. 
  70. ^ Bohrer, Becky (March 28, 2013). "Young Responds to New Ethics Investigation". Anchorage Daily News. 
  71. ^ Rep. Don Young (R-AK) | CREW's Most Corrupt Members of Congress
  72. ^ F.B.I. Investigation Into Representative Don Young The New York Times April 20, 2012
  73. ^ Don Young Cited for Personal Use of Campaign Money The New York Times, June 30, 2014
  74. ^ "'"Rep. Don Young (R-AK) says BP oil gusher is 'not an environmental Disaster. 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  75. ^ Rep. Young Comments on Governor Parnell’s Exploration Proposal for ANWR 1002 Area,
  76. ^ Amendment to open ANWR fails in U.S. Senate, Matt Buxton, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, March 14, 2012.
  77. ^ Otto, Shawn Lawrence (November 19, 2011). "When Despots and Bullies Run The Government". Huffington Post. 
  78. ^ Cole, Dermot (November 19, 2011). "Historian gets into it with Don Young during Congressional hearing". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. 
  79. ^ "Douglas Brinkley and Rep. Don Young in committee hearing smackdown". The Washington Post. November 18, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2011. 
  80. ^ "Jobs and Drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge" video transcript, C-Span Video Library, congressional hearing, November 18, 2011, 1 hour 9 minutes.
  81. ^ "Don Young Uses 'Wetbacks' To Describe Latinos (AUDIO)". March 29, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  82. ^ a b Jim Abrams (March 29, 2013). "Alaska Rep. Don Young 'meant no disrespect' by ethnic slur, but doesn't apologize". The Associated Press. 
  83. ^ "'"John Boehner On Don Young Racial Slur: 'There's No Excuse. March 29, 2013. Retrieved March 29, 2013. 
  84. ^ "Latino group calls for Young's resignation". March 29, 2013. 
  85. ^ Camia, Catalina (March 29, 2013). "GOP's Don Young apologizes for racial slur". USA Today. Retrieved March 29, 2013. 
  86. ^ "Murkowski asks for Young apology on suicide comments". Alaska Dispatch News. October 23, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  87. ^ "GOP Rep. Don Young apologizes for suicide comments". USA Today. October 25, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  88. ^ "Dyeing for a better Kenai salmon count: Alaska Newsreader". Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  89. ^ "Don Young Introduces Fiancee at Church Event". Associated Press. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  90. ^ "Rep. Don Young, most senior House Republican, just got married". USA Today. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  91. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  92. ^ "State of Alaska 2012 General Election". Alaska Division of Elections. November 28, 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 


Alaska's At-large congressional district: Results 1972–2012[91][92]
Year Republican Votes Pct Democratic Votes Pct Third Party Votes Pct Third Party Votes Pct Third Party Votes Pct Write-in votes Write-in %
1972 Don Young 41,750 43.76% Nick J. Begich* 53,651 56.24%
1973 Don Young 35,044 51.41% Emil Notti 33,123 48.39%
1974 Don Young* 51,641 53.84% William L. Hensley 44,280 46.16%
1976 Don Young* 83,722 71.00% Eben Hopson 34,194 29.00%
1978 Don Young* 68,811 55.41% Patrick Rodey 55,176 44.43% 200 0.16%
1980 Don Young* 114,089 73.79% Kevin Parnell 39,922 25.82% 607 0.39%
1982 Don Young* 128,274 70.84% Dave Carlson 52,011 28.72% 799 0.44%
1984 Don Young* 113,582 55.02% Pegge Begich 86,052 41.68% Betty Breck (I) 6,508 3.15% 295 0.14%
1986 Don Young* 101,799 56.47% Pegge Begich 74,053 41.08% Betty Breck (L) 4,182 2.32% 243 0.14%
1988 Don Young* 120,595 62.50% Peter Gruenstein 71,881 37.25% 479 0.25%
1990 Don Young* 99,003 51.66% John S. Devens 91,677 47.84% 967 0.51%
1992 Don Young* 111,849 46.78% John S. Devens 102,378 42.82% Michael States (AKI) 15,049 6.29% Mike Milligan (G) 9,529 3.99% 311 0.13%
1994 Don Young* 118,537 56.92% Tony Smith 68,172 32.74% Joni Whitmore (G) 21,277 10.22% 254 0.12%
1996 Don Young* 138,834 59.41% Georgianna Lincoln 85,114 36.42% William J. Nemec II (AKI) 5,017 2.15% John J. G. Grames (G) 4,513 1.93% 222 0.10%
1998 Don Young* 139,676 62.55% Jim Duncan 77,232 34.59% John J. G. Grames (G) 5,923 2.65% 469 0.21%
2000 Don Young* 190,862 69.56% Clifford Mark Greene 45,372 16.54% Anna C. Young (G) 22,440 8.18% Jim Dore (AKI) 10,085 3.68% Leonard J. Karpinski (L) 4,802 1.75% 832 0.30%
2002 Don Young* 169,685 74.66% Clifford Mark Greene 39,357 17.32% Russell deForest (G) 14,435 6.35% Rob Clift (L) 3,797 1.67% 291 0.00%
2004 Don Young* 213,216 71.34% Thomas M. Higgins 67,074 22.44% Timothy A. Feller (G) 11,434 3.83% Alvin A. Anders (L) 7,157 2.40% 1,115 0.4%
2006 Don Young* 132,743 56.57% Diane E. Benson 93,879 40.01% Alexander Crawford (L) 4,029 1.72% Eva L. Ince (G) 1,819 0.78% William W. Ratigan (I) 1,615 0.69% 560 0.24%
2008 Don Young* 158,939 50.14% Ethan Berkowitz 142,560 44.98% Don Wright (AKI) 14,274 4.50% 1,205 0.38%
2010 Don Young* 175,384 68.87% Harry Crawford 77,606 30.64% 1,345 0.49%
2012 Don Young* 185,296 63.94% Sharon Cissna 82,927 28.61% Jim McDermott (L) 15,028 5.19% Ted Gianoutsos (I) 5,589 1.93% 964 0.33%
2014 Don Young* 142,572 50.97% Forrest Dunbar 114,602 40.97% Jim McDermott (L) 21,290 7.61% 1,277 0.46%

Electoral history

On August 17, 2014, Young announced his engagement to Anne Garland Walton, a flight nurse.[89] On June 9, 2015, Young and Walton married.[90]

Young was married to the former Lula Fredson, an indigenous Gwich'in. She volunteered her time serving as the manager of her husband's Washington, D.C. congressional office. They had two daughters and were members of the Episcopal Church. Lula died on August 1, 2009 at the age of 67.[88]

Personal life

Caucus memberships

Committee assignments

On October 21, 2014, Young addressed an assembly of students at Wasilla High School, shortly after a student there committed suicide. During a question and answer session, he said that the student's suicide had been caused by a lack of support from family and friends. Young apologized for these comments on October 24, stating, "I am profoundly and genuinely sorry for the pain it has caused the Alaskan people."[86][87]

Suicide comments

[85] On March 29, 2013, Young issued a formal apology for his remarks, stating, "I apologize for the insensitive term," and that "it was a poor choice of words."[84] On March 28, 2013, Young caused some controversy when he used the

Use of a Latino slur on the radio

On November 18, 2011, Young got into an argument during a Congressional hearing with Douglas Brinkley, a historian who teaches at Rice University in Texas, over the idea of drilling in ANWR. During Brinkley’s testimony Young was not present in the room,[77] yet still to responded to the speech Brinkley had made. Young himself commented that his absence during Brinkley's testimony was attributable to a pre-scheduled vote on the House floor. Young not only referred to Brinkley’s argument as “garbage”, but also addressed Brinkley as “Mr. Rice,” (rather than Dr. Brinkley).[78] Brinkley responded with remarks about Young's own education, stating, "I know you went to Yuba College and couldn't graduate." Young's reaction, “I’ll say anything I want to say! You just be quiet!”, was met with Brinkley's refusal, and response that Young, "didn't own [him]" and quipping that as a taxpayer, he pays Young's salary. The two continued arguing intermittently throughout the hearing, with the committee chairman ultimately threatening Brinkley with removal.[79][80]

The Arctic Refuge drilling controversy has repeatedly brought Young into the national spotlight. Young has been a longstanding supporter of opening lands within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. He has included provisions to that effect in 12 bills that have passed the House of Representatives,[75] but environmentalists concerned with the impact of road-building, pipelines and other development on the Arctic tundra landscape have thus far successfully defeated such legislation in the Senate.[76]

Support for oil drilling in ANWR

In late 2010, Obama administration officials stated that the Deepwater Horizon blowout exceeded the Exxon Valdez spill, as they estimated that the gusher had spewed between 15 million US gallons (57,000 m3) and 40 million US gallons (150,000 m3) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Young said that the oil pumping into the Gulf was not an "environmental disaster", stating that it was a "natural phenomena" as "oil has seeped into this ocean for centuries, will continue to do it. During World War II there was over 10,000,000 barrels (1,600,000 m3) of oil spilt from ships, and no natural catastrophe. We will lose some birds, we will lose some fixed sealife, but overall it will recover."[74]

Comments on the Deepwater Horizon Spill

Young was included in the annual listing of the most corrupt members of Congress compiled by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in reports on Congressional corruption. CREW said he had been investigated for a 2005 earmark which benefitted a campaign donor, and for using campaign funds for personal expenses. No charges have been brought at any time for any criminal wrongdoing after investigations by the FBI.[71][72] The House Ethics Committee found he had improperly used campaign funds for personal expenses.[73]

Allegations of campaign fund misuse and earmark misuse

The Ethics Committee is now forming a sub-committee charged with the duty of determining whether or not Young broke the law. There is no timeline for either the sub-committee, or the Ethics Committee, to release its findings.

In March 2013, the House Ethics Committee created another special committee to investigate more allegations that Young improperly accepted gifts, used campaign funds for personal expenses, failed to report gifts in financial disclosure documents, and made false statements to federal officials.[69] On future predictions, Young stated "it will go forever. I've been under a cloud all my life. I'm sort of like living in Juneau. It rains on you all the time. You don't even notice it."[70]

2013 Federal Investigation

In August 2010, the investigation launched by the FBI was closed. The office noted that the evidentiary findings of their investigation were being forwarded to the Ethics Commission. The Ethics Committee made no official findings.

A confession signed by Bill Allen, the former chief of VECO, was released in October 2009. Allen agreed that from 1993 to August 2006, both he and his deputy at VECO, Rick Smith, "provided things of value to United States Representative A," a reference to Young. For example, in June 2006, Smith obtained a set of golf clubs, costing approximately $1,000, that Smith gave to Young. Although Young was obligated in 2006 to report gifts with a value of more than $335, he didn't report receiving any gifts on the personal financial disclosure form he filed with the House of Representatives for that year.[68]

On July 24, 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported that Young was under federal investigation for possibly taking bribes, illegal gratuities or unreported gifts from VECO Corporation, an Anchorage-based company. The top two executives of that company had already pleaded guilty to bribing members of the Alaska legislature.[67] The Journal said a VECO executive held fundraisers called "the Pig Roast" for Young every August for ten years. Between 1996 and 2006, Young received $157,000 from VECO employees and its political action committee. In the first half of 2007, Young spent more than $250,000 of his campaign contributions for legal fees.[56]

2007 Federal Investigation

He was listed as the third-worst congressman by the popular magazine Rolling Stone, and dubbed "Mr. Pork" due to his involvement in the Gravina Island "Bridge to Nowhere" incident. In the article, Young is quoted as saying that "Environmentalists are a self-centered bunch of waffle-stomping, Harvard-graduating, intellectual idiots" who "are not Americans, never have been Americans, never will be Americans."[45]

Part of the concern for the Bridge is that if it were built, it would significantly enhance the value of property in which Young's son-in-law owns an interest. [66]

Currently, Anchorage is accessible from Point Mackenzie only by an 80-mile (130 km) route around Knik Arm, much of which is an unimproved road. The demise of this second bridge project has been suggested for years.[65]

Another bridge earmarked in the bill connects Anchorage to Pt. Mackenzie, a lightly populated area in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough that is situated less than four miles (6 km) across Cook Inlet from downtown Anchorage.[64]

Knik Arm Bridge

In 2005, Young and Stevens earmarked $223 million for building the enormous Taxpayers for Common Sense in 2003.[62] After criticism from citizens and others in Congress, lawmakers de-funded the bridge and instead funneled the money to Alaska's Department of Transportation, allowing the Governor of Alaska to start road construction after the Alaska Legislature funded the project with the directed monies.[63]

"Bridge to Nowhere" controversy

According to The New Republic, Young is "well-known for his sharp elbows and generous appetite for legislative pork."[60] His reputation for steering federal dollars to Alaska is almost as legendary as that of Ted Stevens. For example, in the 2005 Highway Bill, Young helped secure $941 million for 119 "special projects," including a $231 million bridge in Anchorage that a rider in the bill named for Young himself.[61]

Young is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[59]

Although Young is considered to be Pro-Life and was quoted saying, "... I have always voted for pro-life legislation as I believe an unborn child is a human being and should be protected through all stages of life," (1997)[57] his official positions on the subject do not make abortion illegal in every scenario. Young believes that abortion should be legal only when the pregnancy is a result of incest or rape, or in the case that a woman’s life is endangered by her pregnancy. He has addressed the issue of the time-period in which abortions should be legal, saying he does not think abortions should be limited to the first trimester of a pregnancy, and also disagrees with the idea of federal subsidies prohibiting abortions.[58]

In July 2007, fellow Republican Congressman Scott Garrett of New Jersey proposed an amendment to strike money in a spending bill for native Alaskan and Hawaiian educational programs.[56] Young defended the funds on the floor of the House, stating that "You want my money, my money."[56] Young also stated that "Those who bite me will be bitten back."[56] Young went on to suggest that conservative Republicans such as Garrett lost the Republicans their majority in the 2006 election by challenging spending earmarks, and made several critical remarks about the state of New Jersey.[56] While Garrett did not ask for an official reprimand, other conservative Republicans took exception to Young's remarks that the funds in question represented his money. Members of the conservative Republican Study Committee gave Garrett a standing ovation later in the day during the group's weekly meeting and Virginia Foxx of North Carolina compared Young's earmarks to "legal theft."[56]

In the wake of September 11, 2001, Young sponsored the Airport Security Federalization Act of 2001, which created the Transportation Security Administration.[55]

In 2000, when evidence surfaced that the Pittman-Robertson Act conservation trust funds were being mismanaged, Young introduced the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs Improvement Act. The bill passed the House 423-2 and became law on Nov. 1, 2000 and defines in what manner the monies can be spent.

On November 4, 1999, Young voted in favor of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act,[52] which some economists, including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, believe helped create the 2007 financial crisis.[53][54]

At a high school assembly in 2004, Young was answering questions about cutting federal funding for the arts. He said that such funding had "photographs of people doing offensive things," and "things that are absolutely ridiculous." When asked for an example, Young quickly replied "buttfucking", in reference to Robert Mapplethorpe's photographic exhibition The Perfect Moment.[50][51]

During a 1994 House debate touching on the question of endangered animals for the purpose of aphrodisiacs, he pulled out an eighteen-inch penis bone of a walrus, better known as an Oosik. He brandished it like a sword on the House floor at the face of the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.[45][48][49]

Young's voting record is relatively moderate by Republican standards. He has a lifetime rating of 77 from the American Conservative Union.[46] He most often crosses lines on issues affecting labor. He was one of a small number of Republicans to vote against the Teamwork for Employees and Managers Act of 1995, some free trade agreements, and was one of only 13 Republican congressmen to vote for the Employee Free Choice Act in 2007. His voting record is anti-abortion and anti-gun control, but he was also among the Republicans to vote in favor of more federal funds for stem cell research and voted against the re-authorization of the Patriot Act. He is known for his opposition to federal control of Alaska's land and resources.[11] He is also a strong proponent of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.[47]

As of April 1, 2015, Young is the third longest-serving House member, and the most-senior Republican. Due to his long tenure in the House and that of former Senator Ted Stevens, Alaska is considered to have clout in national politics far beyond its small population (it has long been one of the smallest states in population and is currently 47th, ahead of only North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming). He is often called "Alaska's third senator."[45] After the 1995 Republican takeover of the House, Young chaired the Committee on Natural Resources, which he renamed the "Committee on Resources". The name was changed back by Democrats in 2006 and has since been retained by Republican chairmen. He chaired the Committee until 2001, then chairing the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure from 2001 to 2007. He is currently the second-highest ranking Republican on both committees.

Earlier photo of Don Young


In 2014, Young received 79,393 votes (74.29%) in the Republican primary against three challengers.[43] In the general election, he defeated Democrat Forrest Dunbar by 142,572 votes (50.97%) to 114,602 (40.97%).[44] Young was the only statewide incumbent in Alaska to win re-election that year, as Republican Governor Sean Parnell was defeated by Independent Bill Walker, and Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Begich was defeated by Republican Dan Sullivan. Young has filed to run for re-election in 2016.

Young ran for a 20th term in 2010.[36] He was challenged in the Republican primary by John R. Cox and Sheldon Fisher, a former telecommunications executive, winning with 74,117 votes (70.36%).[37] He defeated Democratic State Representative Harry Crawford[38] in the general election by 175,384 votes (68.96%) to 77,606 (30.51%).[39] In 2012, Young drew two challengers in the Republican party, but easily defeated them with 58,789 votes (78.59%).[40][41] In the general election, he defeated State Representative Sharon Cissna by 185,296 votes (63.94%) to 82,927 (28.62%).[42]


He won re-election with 50% of the vote, compared to Berkowitz's 45% and Wright's 5%.[33][34] Berkowitz conceded defeat on November 18, 2008.[35]

Young faced a strong challenge from Democrat Ethan Berkowitz, the 46-year-old former minority leader in the Alaska House of Representatives. Don Wright, the Alaskan Independence Party nominee, also challenged Young.

General election

Final results on September 18 showed Young winning by 304 votes (0.28%), and Parnell announced that he would not seek a recount.[30] Prior to the announcement of the unofficial results, both candidates had said that they would request a recount if they lost.[31] The state of Alaska pays the costs of recounts when the difference is within a half percent, as it was in this primary election.[32]

Young received the endorsement of Mike Huckabee's political action committee, Huck PAC, in June 2008.[28] After a storm of negative reaction, Huckabee explained on the Huck PAC blog that the endorsement was due in part to Young's endorsement and steadfast support of Huckabee during the 2008 Republican presidential primaries.[29]

In light of many of the controversies, incumbent Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell announced he would run against Young in the August 26, 2008 Republican primary. Parnell was strongly supported by Gov. Sarah Palin, the Club for Growth, and many other organizations that opposed what they viewed to be corrupt behavior by Young. This was the first primary since he was first elected in which Young faced a strong challenge.

Republican primary


[27] with 56.57% of the vote.Diane E. Benson In 2006, he defeated writer, dramatist and video production consultant [26] He received 213,216 votes (71.34%) against Thomas Higgins in 2004, the most votes he has ever received in a single election.[25] and with 74.66% of the vote in 2002, the largest winning percentage of his career.[24] He defeated attorney Clifford Mark Greene with 69.56% of the vote in 2000[23] with 62.55% of the vote in 1998.Jim Duncan Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives and State Senator and former [22]

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