01.07.23

Honoring Young

Approved by Congress in December, the Don Young Recognition Act that commemorates the late “Congressman for All Alaska” was signed into law Thursday by President Joe Biden.

The legislation is an appropriate tribute for a man whose personality was almost as big as the state that he represented in Congress for 49 years before he died — while still in office — on March 18, 2022, at the age of 88.

Introduced by Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, the Don Young Recognition Act renames an active volcano in the Aleutian Island chain as Mt. Young. 

As we’ve noted here before, Young probably would have appreciated that the volcano previously was named after Cerberus, the three-headed hound of Hades in Greek mythology.

“Don Young was a force of nature,” said Rep. Mary Peltola, who now serves as Alaska’s only representative in the U.S. House. “... A giant fighting for the land and people he cherished.”

The legislation includes a biography or sorts, recounting elements of Young’s life history and highlights of his service in Congress. His 49 years and 13 days as Alaska’s representative — which includes more than four years as the “Dean of the House” as its most senior representative — was remarkable not only for its duration but for its accomplishments, as well. Young sponsored 85 bills that became law, and was a key participant in the passage of others, such as the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 and the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975. In 2005, as the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he shepherded the $286 billion surface transportation reauthorization legislation SAFETEA-LU (named after his late spouse, Lu Young) through to passage.

The longest-serving Republican in congressional history, Young staunchly supported natural resource development and rarely was reticent to share his viewpoint on just about any topic. But he wasn’t one dimensional. As Peltola said: “For those in (the House), he was a colleague quick to say yes to cosponsor legislation and famous for making unexpected friendships.”

Young’s ability to do so certainly helped Alaska over the years, and it certainly helped speed the passage of the Don Young Recognition Act in the halls of Congress where he’ll continue to be remembered for, in the words of Sen. Sullivan, his “authentic, tenacious, indomitable Alaskan spirit.”

Our thanks go to Murkowski and Sullivan for introducing legislation to honor Don Young, and to all who supported its passage.

It is a most appropriate tribute.


By:  Ketchikan Daily News
Source: Ketchikan Daily