Breaking: Don Young, Alaska’s congressman, has passed

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Shocking news for Alaska: Congressman Don Young has died. He was Alaska’s congressman from March, 1973 until his passing on March 18, 2022. Young was 88 years old and campaigning for his reelection, when he had heart attack on a commercial jet en route from Los Angeles to Seattle; medics in Seattle could not revive him.

Young took office after the death of Congressman Nick Begich in 1972. A special election was held and he won the seat, which he’s held since, and was Dean of the House, the senior member of the House of Representatives. He served longer than any other Republican in U.S. history.

His office released a statement: “It’s with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we announce Congressman Don Young (R-AK), the Dean of the House and revered champion for Alaska, passed away today while traveling home to Alaska to be with the state and people that he loved. His beloved wife Anne was by his side.

“A fierce defender of Alaska since elected to Congress in 1973, nearly everything that has advanced for Alaska is a result of Don Young’s tenacious work. From the Trans-Alaska pipeline, to the Ketchikan Shipyard, to the Magnuson Stevens Act, which transformed the American fishing industry, to the numerous land exchanges he fought for, Don Young’s legacy cannot be overstated.

“Every day, I try to do something for somebody and some group,” Congressman Young once said. “And every day I try to learn something new. We all go into the ground the same way. The only thing we leave behind are our accomplishments.”

“Don Young’s legacy as a fighter for the state will live on, as will his fundamental goodness and his honor. We will miss him dearly. His family, his staff, and his many friends ask Alaskans for their prayers during this difficult time.

“In the coming days, we will be sharing more details about plans for a celebration of his life and his legacy.”

By statute 15.40.140, the governor must call a special election not less than 60 nor more than 90 days.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

Young was born June 9, 1933, and represented Alaska for 25 terms as Alaska’s lone member of Congress. He had been in office since the Nixon Administration and became the 45th dean of the House on December 5, 2017, after John Conyers resigned.

Young was mayor of Fort Yukon from 1964 to 1967 and a member of the Alaska House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971 and the Alaska Senate from 1971 to 1973.

He was married in his younger years to Lou Young, who passed in 2009. He married Anne Garland Walton, a retired flight nurse from Fairbanks, in 2015.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy released a statement: “Congressman Don Young has been a great friend and colleague of mine for many years. I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of this amazing man who, in many ways, formed Alaska into the great state it is today. Hours after being sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives, he was leading the historic battle for approval of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. Shortly after, he was impressively honored in 1973 as the ‘Freshman Congressman of the Year.’ This is the Congressman whom Alaska will remember forever. Alaska is a better place because of Don Young. Rose and I offer our prayers to his family during this difficult time.”

70 COMMENTS

  1. I hope Dunleavy isn’t going to take advice from our Assembly as it pertains to Special Elections. If so, 90 days = 1 year. Right, Austin? Ms. Constant is probably drooling at the thought that he could possibly have a chance at filling Don’s seat. If not that, maybe Lia Thomas’ P.R. rep.

  2. There are quirks within our system of things. It appears we need a special election. Then, the winner will need to run for re-election possibly two months later in the regularly-scheduled election. The best of all possible things; in the best of all possible worlds–Voltaire.
    .
    That said, regardless of politics, Representative Young was an absolute figurative giant in Alaska politics. He will remain so in history. I didn’t agree with every position or vote, but I loved him like my own father. He was refreshingly uncomplicated. May God grant him peace and everlasting salvation in His kingdom. Please give me an Amen.

  3. My condolences to Anne Walton, his widow. Don was a grizzly bear for Alaska. Unfortunately, he stayed too long and he should have ridden into the sunset while he was still on top of his game.
    Anne was the former Mrs. George Walton, a widow, who was long active in Republican Party politics. She made Don very happy during their past 7 years. Now it’s time to get behind Nick Begich, that is, unless Mike Taveliero jumps into the race.

  4. Reference the March 6 MRAK article on Don Young, and all of the hateful comments made about him there. I wonder if those responsible for the disparaging remarks will now see fit to exhibit some common decency, and express their condolences to his family. We’ll see, but I’m not holding my breath.

    • No, Tatitlek, I will not refuse to still acknowledge his ongoing corruption, and the innumerable harm that Don Young did to this state and to this nation by his freewheeling, pork-barreling ways. The fact that the man has died has NO bearing whatsoever. His legacy is one of shame, and I for one will shed not one tear for a corrupt, self-serving, statist career politician who should have had the decency to retire many years ago already.

    • No one is required to think a certain way – we are a free people.
      This concept of GroupThink – that people must think a certain because of emotions and feelings, or they should be shamed or cancelled is dangerous. What your espousing is the foundation of fascism and totalitarianism.
      Get another booster shot Tatilek…

    • Tatitlek, you have reached a low point seldom seen. And your timing is exquisite. Just when Don’s friends and family are most vulnerable and deeply saddened, you manage to step up to the plate and make them feel even worse over their loss. Well done!

      • I apologize to you Tatitlek. My comment was supposed to be made to Jefferson, and not you. It was his shameful attack on Young that was so wrong in so many ways that I addressed. Your comment was right on and appropriate in its timing.

        • AF, I really don’t care one iota about your misplaced feelings and your misplaced sympathies for a man whose career in Congress was a disaster for Alaskan and Alaskans, much like his fellow corrupt pork-barreller Ted Stevens. Both were a blot on our political scene, and just because the man is now dead is no reason to refuse to continuing to acknowledge that fact.

    • 30 trillion dollars stacked on top of each other will go all the way to heaven.. Let’s not forget to express future condolences to the families that will have to bear the brunt of a worthless currency due to unrestrained spending.

  5. Praying for comfort for those who will miss Don.
    Praying for our country and the need of strong people to serve those they represent. 🙏

  6. Don was as sharp as a tack at 88. He was strong and robust. And he peacefully went out at the top of his game. What a guy! He was all in for Alaska and Alaskans in a way matched only by Ted Stevens.

  7. Imagine, Don Young wins a special election because Nick Begich Sr died. Decades later, God-willing, Begich’s grandson may win a special election because Don Young died. Truth is stranger than fiction.

  8. R.I.P. Congressman Young. You have served well. But now we must have another good person there. What would be more fitting than having Nick Begich replace him as Don replaced Nick Begich SR.

  9. Nick Begich died and Young took his place; now Young dies and perhaps Begich will take his place.

    Guess the playbook is out ideas and we’re at the rerun stage…

  10. I knew and liked the Congressman and have spent several pleasant hours discussing “things Alaskan” with him. He was a newly minted Congressman facing his first re-election campaign when I first arrived here in ’74. I think he, “the general,” and I aided by Alaskan Amber solved all of Alaska and the World’s problems at “Fletcher’s” one night.

    That said, I had come to advocate his stepping down for a worthy, but younger successor. Before the ‘No More Lisa Appointments” law cited above, a Republican Governor could have appointed a successor and given him/her a seniority advantage. Now we have to have a street-fight for a six-month term then do it all over again. It would have been so much better if he could have done a retirement lap. I’d have willingly paid for an evening at the Cook’s Main Ballroom to commemorate his service to Alaska. Rest In Peace, Congressman!

    Now, let’s elect Nick Begich.

  11. Our final breath on earth is our first breath to what waits us all we all know this. The show must go on immediately so then with that said. Lora reinbold or Chris tuck if there is any way one of these Two can have a shot. Alaskans Lora or Chris are so very into the oath they have taken for the citizens, our oath integrity is the most valuable of all to have. Please immediately Lora or Chris deserve this opportunity. May we All make Jesus smile upon us. Oath Integrity for all immediately

  12. Rest in peace, friend. We both got old and now the torch must be passed. And that means the US Senate seat too.

  13. Don Young was one of those guys who seemed like he would just keep going. I often didn’t agree with his approaches to politics, but he always seemed to vote the right way. And there’s no denying the service he did to the state. RIP Mr. Young, you’ve earned it.

  14. The best candidate to fill Don Young’s shoes would Joe Miller! Joe was fraudulently robbed from his election by Lisa Murkowski in 2010, and this appointment would only make it right! Unfortunately, as we know, Dunleavy is not the most forth right or knowledgeable Governor we have had that truly represents the people or stands firm with what is right!

    • Your kidding right? Fraudulently robbed! what planet are you on? Statute says special election. Dunleavy will follow the statute.

      • It was fraud. The Democrat election people visited us in 2010 to teach us how to spell “Murkowski.” It didn’t make any difference to us because we all voted for Joe Miller.

  15. Don Young left a legacy for certain. In his youth he appeared brash and cocky and seemingly unrelenting in his passionate fighting for Alaska. As he grew older and more secure, a different Don emerged, a more confident and knowledgeable fellow. Both phases were effective in working for Alaska. Don Young made friendships with different characters while he was in Congress, people like George Miller, while Miller and Don were at opposite ends of most debates their friendship reportedly remained. But that was a different world, one before the Leftist became all out anti American Commies and before they were consumed with gaining political power and control for their parties agenda at the expense of Country and Constitution.
    In many ways Don represented a time gone by and his passing only magnifies this. His era has passed and he will be missed. God help us going forward.
    Our thoughts and prayers will be for Don’s family.

  16. ‘Medics couldn’t revive him,’ he left us quick! He must have seen jesus like other
    people, and he must have hurried to go into the bright light without turning back. That is the way to go. running into glory! Hallelujah! Homecoming reunion. This death greatly humbles me not to allow my sassiness-bluntness drown out my sweetness. I treasure the recent activity he allow me read scriptures to him. He was just sitting alone looking like needing scripture. I think we don’t read the scriptures enough
    with/to our leaders (including with eachother in the local body-we either lack courage or we don’t read it), our leaders hear from us more complaints and compliments than the word of God coming through us. A leader receptive to God, i think its God they prefer to hear through us more while they go about the challenging business ruling over us.

    • Don enjoyed life! His life was committed to the Alaska he loved. Some people never retire because they love what they are doing, that was Don.

    • Be assured, Don Young enjoyed life right up to the last moment. He went out riding tall in the saddle. What a legacy.

      • Don was too selfish to mentor someone younger and pass his knowledge along. Term limits meant getting screwed into the ground.

  17. Don Young was a friend for over fifty years. I did some things for him and he did some things for me. He will be missed.

  18. Truly Rep Don Young was at the forefront of keeping Alaska at the top of the list for funding so much for us. Thankful for all he did. Rest in peace.

  19. I want to know………how many of the “covidiousy” vaccinations contributed to his death? Are you up to date with all of yours and all the ones they want you to get? Do not fly if you do.

  20. Got his notification for FB live for Monday. I am going to miss him and I am so sad to hear this. He loved Alaska. Just in shock. Condolences to his family and those near to him.

  21. It would be easy from reading the news to think Don Young was just a stubborn bombastic egotist who craved attention. But from the times I met him, he came across as a true Alaskan. A man who loved this state and would do everything possible to help and defend it. Whenever someone I knew contacted him for assistance, the congressman was polite, responsive, and more often than not, effective. I can only pray that his replacement can have these qualities. RIP Don Young. You will be missed.

  22. I am sorry to hear of his passing but also a little relieved. He was 88 years old and as usual started to “drink the liberal cool aid” A good man but should have stepped down. Yesterday he voted on a bill that was so huge there was no way he could have read it or known about all the hidden repercussions.

  23. Was the cause of death announced? Sounds like another adverse affects from the injections pre mature death. So many people we know are passed away, or breathing and circulatory issues that developed rapidly.

    • I believe it said he had a heart attack. Because a lot of airline pilots that have had the “covid” vaccines and have died in flight, makes me wonder if he also suffered the same fate as some of the pilots? It makes me wonder if they are blaming it on a heart attack.

  24. Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Daddy Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, Trump, Biden…That is a lot of Presidents. A redwood among mere sprouts. I have to respect a man who prospers this much, even if I don’t agree with everything he’s done. Perhaps he is the lucky one, stepping off the battlefield just as the greatest battle of all approaches. Well done, Don Young. May you rest in peace.

  25. I think Don Young represented Alaska and me pretty well in the 30+ years I’ve lived here despite disagreements I’ve had. His temperment is what we needed several times to look out for our interests as a state and nation. Those are big shoes to fill. I hope our next representive can do it.

    Memory Eternal.

    • Well, you didn’t listen to me, Frankie. I told you to to pick Don, but no, you wanted to “make history.”
      Now, Alaska is in a historical mess, all because of YOUR “pick.”

    • Frankie, you should have picked Joe Miller. He passed the bar exam on his first try, unlike Lisa who drained you on bar preparation courses. 10?
      LOL.

      • psssttt……that was after the bar prep course offered out the actual exam questions so that Lisa would have a better chance to finally pass. She never did practice law. In fact, she only got into law school at Willamette because her daddy was a US Senator. White, rich, privileged little princess.

  26. I find it really sad that Cong. Young could not make it all the way back to Alaska, to get that one last view of the Great Land and its beautiful mountains. That said, if he went that quickly, it was a mercy from God for someone who had served his community and state well. As I understand it, under the new rules for elections, there must be an election within 60 – 90 days to replace him. The governor no longer has an option to appoint a successor. Too bad, Dunleavy could have appointed Nick Begich and given him a little incumbency. Two elections for one seat in a short time. It will be interesting to watch. RIP Don Young. Thank You for your service.

  27. I met and always liked Don, and voted for him many times.
    But I said on this site a few weeks ago, that I believed it was time for him to retire, and let someone
    conservative take off from where he left off, and fill his shoes, starting a new legacy.
    This was not how I hoped his long run advocating for our beautiful stated would end.

    Now as I ponder his passing, I am left with an ominous feeling that the Demoncrats are going to steal
    his seat in Congress.
    I truly hope I am proved wrong, and that we get a true Conservative elected in his place in the upcoming special election, and again in November.
    Thank you for everything, and R.I.P. Mr. Young……

  28. To answer the question about vx, yes he was.
    ‘https://donyoung.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=402034&msclkid=899cd300a7a611ec9429b3bb702ee0cf

  29. I’m praying his family gets through this heartache of losing a loved one. When you get the jab heart attacks will happen especially at altitude. Unexpectedly? Depends on perspective. Sad for his family. Not sad for Alaskans or our congress! Time for Nick Begich!

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