Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Bill naming volcano, federal building after Young heads to White House

The late Rep. Don Young’s legacy will continue to endure in Alaska’s history books and on the state’s landmarks — including an Aleutian Islands volcano.

Mount Cerberus, one of the Aleutian Islands most active volcanoes, will be renamed Mount Young should the president signs the Don Young Recognition Act.

Both the House and Senate unanimously passed the bill and sent it to President Joe Biden for final approval.

The bill also designates the downtown Fairbanks Federal building at 101 12th Avenue as the Don Young Federal Office Building and Palmer’s U.S. Jobs Corps building as the Don Young Alaska Job Corps Center.

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan introduced the bill in September to honor Young’s legacy and 49-year tenure as Alaska’s lone U.S. House representative. Young died in March at 88 while in flight returning to Alaska.

Rep. Mary Peltola, who was elected to replace Young, called the bill an appropriate measure.

Murkowksi, in a Dec. 13 Senate floor speech, said she and Sullivan reached out for ways to properly honor Young’s memory. She noted buildings, institutions and monuments are all options.

“We have a fair number of mountains, lakes and rivers that are pretty extraordinary, but it just didn’t seem appropriate and fitting that a regular mountain should be renamed after the congressman,” Murkowski said.

“I had the opportunity to serve with him for many years, and for really all my life, I think he has been my Congressman,” Murkowski said. “I’ve known him in his softer side, and certainly in his gruff and more explosive side, so as we were looking for something that might be fitting … we looked at mountains that continue to blow their top to this very day.”

Murkowski called it fitting “for a giant of a man.”

In a Dec. 13 statement, Sullivan said the act will “remind future Alaskans about this once-in-a-generation public servant and all that he accomplished for the people and state he loved so much.”

“Having fought so hard for countless federal investments, projects and economic opportunities for Alaskans, our late great Congressman Don Young’s name deserves to grace lands and projects in our state in recognition of his important legacy,” Sullivan said.

Rep. Mary Peltola, who was elected to replace Young, called the bill an appropriate measure.

“Don Young was a force of nature. … He was so much for so many people,” Peltola said from the House floor in Washington, D.C. “For Alaskans, he was their sole Congressman for 49 years, a giant fighting for the land and people he cherished.”

For his family and friends, she added, Young was “a father, grandfather, and husband with a heart filled with love and stories." For fellow congress members, “he was a colleague quick to say yes to cosponsor legislation and famous for making unexpected friendships.”

By:  Jack Barnwell
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner