Floor Speech: Murkowski pays tribue to Lu Young
*** As Prepared for Delivery ***
"Mr. President, my colleague mentioned the passing of a very dear friend. I wish to take a moment this afternoon to also acknowledge the passing of Lu Young.
"This is a sad day for us in Alaska as we come to grips with the very sudden passing of Congressman Young 's wife. They have been a team for some 46 years. She died this weekend at their home in Great Falls, VA. She was only 67 years old.
"Lu Young was an Athabascan Indian from the village of Fort Yukon. Fort Yukon, you may have seen on Senator Begich's map, is in the interior part of the State. It sits 7 miles above the Arctic Circle on the north bank of the Yukon River. It is about 145 air miles north from Fairbanks.
"Congressman Young met Lu in Fort Yukon. This is back in the days when he was a tugboat captain operating a barge, carrying products and supplies up and down the river. Don taught in the wintertime at the BIA schools. Lu was the bookkeeper there in the village. They met, they married, and had 46 years of honest wedded bliss.
"I have to tell you, it is not often one can look at a couple after 46 years of marriage and still see the love and the gleam and the warmth between two individuals, one for another. Every day we saw that. If Lu wasn't with Don, Don was talking about Lu .
"He used to joke when he was in his campaigns: ''You get two for the price of one.'' He wasn't kidding. Don was in his office every day, and Lu was also in the office every day over at the Rayburn Building. She would greet Alaskans as they would come in. She would make sure they were comfortable or if she thought they were taking too much of Don's time, she would tell them that too. She would take people over to the restaurant for lunch. She welcomed Alaskans as part of their family.
"We have a very close and intimate relationship with those we represent in Alaska. As my new colleague is recognizing, we are a long way from home, so we kind of band together. We are part of an extended family.
"Lu was a constant in Don Young 's office. She ensured that Alaskans who traveled to Washington, DC, would know that the Congressman for all Alaska was going to take care of you. She was also reminding Don every day: Don't forget where you come from. Anyone who has ever been to Don's office knows it looks and feels very much like Alaska. Lu made sure that was never going to change.
"Today the people of Alaska are not thinking of Lu's contributions to Don's political career. They are reflecting on the truly remarkable love between the two of them. In a statement this morning, Congressman Young summed it up. He said: ''Lu was my everything, and I am heartbroken.'' That loss breaks the golden hearts of all Alaskans as we remember our own experiences with Congressman Young 's partner, his best friend, and his heart.
"Congressman Young has lost the love of his life, and Alaskans have lost a great friend. Regardless of political persuasion, all of Alaska grieves with Congressman Young , his daughters, Joni and Dawn, and their husbands, 14 grandchildren, and an extended family of lifelong friends throughout the great land.
"I yield the floor."
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