Murkowski, Sullivan Lead Resolution Honoring Congressman Don Young

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska, today thanked the Senate for unanimously cosponsoring and passing their resolution honoring the life and legacy of Congressman Don Young, who served Alaska in the House of Representatives for the last 49 years. Congressman Young passed away on March 18, 2022.

“Congressman Don Young was larger than life, as is the legacy he leaves behind. He devoted 49 years to the service of Alaska and the nation. In that time, he shepherded critical, generational legislation into law and became Dean of the House—the longest-serving Republican of all time. He became a close friend to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, but was always best known for his steadfast loyalty to his home state,” said Senator Murkowski. “This resolution is one of the many ways we will honor Congressman Young, to ensure that the life and leadership of the Congressman for all Alaska, one of the most effective legislators of our time, will be remembered always.”

Click here for video of Senator Murkowski’s remarks at Congressman Young’s Lying in State Ceremony.

“Don Young was so authentic in an age of overly-coached politicians. He was a throwback to a time and a place where people were respected, not so much for how they talked or how they looked, but for what they could do. And boy did he do a lot in life and for Alaska. He was a teacher, a tugboat captain, a gold miner, a mayor and, of course, he was a relentless fighter in the House for the great state of Alaska,” said Senator Sullivan. “Don’s sudden death leaves a major void in Congress, in Alaska, in the hearts of his family, and in all of us who knew and loved him. It leaves a very real void in our small but mighty Alaska delegation. But his tenacious, indomitable spirit lives on. Rest in peace, Don Young.”

Click here for video of Senator Sullivan’s remarks at Congressman Young’s Lying in State Ceremony.

Murkowski and Sullivan introduced S. Res. 565 yesterday and asked unanimous consent to pass it as Congressman Young lay in state in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall. Every member of the Senate cosponsored the resolution. Its full text is below.

Resolution Honoring and Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Representative Don Young

Whereas Donald Edwin Young was born on June 9, 1933, to James Young and Nora (Bucy) Young in Meridian, California;

Whereas Don Young earned an associate degree from Yuba Junior College and a bachelor’s degree in teaching from Chico State University;

Whereas Don Young began what would be decades of service to the United States when he served in the Army as part of the 41st Tank Battalion from 1955 to 1957;

Whereas Don Young moved to Alaska in 1959 and found his true home in the village of Fort Yukon, which is located 7 miles above the Arctic Circle;

Whereas Don Young met and married the first love of his life, Lula “Lu” Young, in Fort Yukon;

Whereas Don Young and Lu had 2 wonderful daughters, Dawn and Joni, and later 14 grandchildren;

Whereas Don Young taught fifth grade at a school run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs during the winter and worked in construction, mining, fishing, and trapping, and as a tugboat captain in the warmer months;

Whereas Don Young was elected mayor of Fort Yukon in 1964 and served in that role until 1967;

Whereas Don Young was elected to and served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1967 to 1970 and the Alaska State Senate from 1970 to 1973;

Whereas Don Young was elected to the House of Representatives in 1973 in a special election and served 24 additional and consecutive terms;

Whereas Representative Young served as Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001, and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2007;

Whereas Representative Young was a champion for Alaska Native peoples, including as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs of the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives;

Whereas Representative Young fiercely defended Alaska and Alaskans as the sole Representative for the largest State in the United States and devoted himself to fulfilling the immense promise of his home State;

Whereas Representative Young was a leader in strengthening the role of Alaska in providing for the national defense of the United States through his support for the Coast Guard, the Alaskan Command, and the ballistic missile defense and his steadfast commitment to the leadership of the United States in the Arctic;

Whereas Representative Young sponsored at least 85 bills that were enacted into Federal law and sponsored and cosponsored many more measures that were part of broader legislation;

Whereas legislative achievements by Representative Young span the policy spectrum, from authorizing the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System to important amendments and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.);

Whereas Representative Young authored and advocated for generational laws, including the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.) in 1975, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Public Law 94-265;90 Stat. 331) in 1976, the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Public Law 105–57; 111 Stat. 1252) in 1997, SAFETEA-LU (Public Law 109–59; 119 Stat. 1144) in 2005, Multinational Species Conservation Funds Reauthorization Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-132; 121 Stat. 1360) in 2007, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Public Law 117–58; 135 Stat. 429) in 2021;

Whereas Representative Young formed strong relationships and friendships with members on both sides of the aisle and proudly worked with 10 different presidents;

Whereas Representative Young married his second love, Anne Garland Walton, in 2015, in the United States Capitol;

Whereas, on December 5, 2017, Representative Young became the 45th Dean of the House of Representatives, reflecting his status as its most senior member;

Whereas Representative Young was the longest-serving Republican in the history of Congress; and

Whereas Representative Young ultimately served the 49th State with dedication and distinction for 49 years and 13 days, which is more than \3/4\ of the period in which Alaska has been a State: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) mourns the death of Don Young, congressman for all Alaska and the 45th Dean of the House of Representatives;

(2) honors Representative Young for his lifetime of service to Alaska and the United States, his spirited bipartisanship, and his enduring respect for and devotion to the House of Representatives;

(3) respectfully requests that the Secretary of the Senate—

(A) communicate this resolution to the House of Representatives; and

(B) transmit an enrolled copy of this resolution to the family of the Honorable Don Young; and

(4) at the time that the Senate adjourns or recesses today, the Senate stands adjourned as a further mark of respect to the memory of the Honorable Don Young.