Michael Tavoliero: Time for Don Young to retire



Don Young, a professional politician, represents Alaska as our only congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives. But who does he really represent? 

After serving in the House of Representatives since 1973, Young is the longest-serving, still-active member.  He has earned the title of “The Dean of the House.” The record of his legislative accomplishments spans almost 50 years. 

The purpose of this column is to highlight a few of his thousands of legislative votes and then comment on their benefits, or not, to the people of Alaska and the nation, who he has promised to represent. I also need to point out that a thorough review of his history in Congress would require many more pages than this article can address.

This column is also a reaction to Fritz Pettijohn’s column on Congressman Young and the benefits of his seniority and experience.

As a member of the House, Young enjoys the constitutional authority with the rest of the House members to raise revenue.

With that authority, Congress has raised the U.S. debt limit or the debt ceiling 65 times since Don Young’s arrival in the House of Representatives.  Congressman Young voted to raise the debt ceiling almost every time it has been placed before him.

When we examine where the federal government gets most of its revenue, we must remember that it comes from the people through one of the most progressive tax programs on the planet.

As of March 15, according to the US Debt Clock, U.S. debt is now almost $30.5 trillion. For this debt, each U.S. citizen is obligated for over $91,000. In addition, U.S. unfunded liabilities (debt obligations that do not have enough funds set aside to pay them) are now over $168 trillion. For this debt, each U.S. citizen is obligated for over a half of a million dollars. That’s every man, woman, and child.

Aug. 1, 2019, Don Young voted for H.R.3877 – Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019.  This law increased discretionary spending limits, suspended the debt limit, and modified budget enforcement procedures.  

December 2021, Biden signed into law a $2.5 trillion debt ceiling increase.  Thankfully, Don Young did not vote for that.

Nov. 30, 2021, Alaska saw the Dean of the House vote in favor of the Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2021, that when signed into law would reportedly “modernize” already existing vaccination database systems and create a $396 million bureaucracy. 

Nov. 8, 2021, Don Young voted for H.R.3684 – Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.  This bill authorized a $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending package — the “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act or the INVEST in America Act.”

According to Alaska’s congressional delegation who all voted for this bill, Alaska would be the beneficiary of billions over the next several years. But it wasn’t funded, and after the 2022 midterm elections, most of this may even be repealed by the new majority. A quick review of the bill leads me to believe that the majority of the “pork” in this bill will head to Alaska special interests.

The following are some of Don Young’s votes over the years and the legislative results that became law. 

In 2005, Don Young voted for H.R.2863 that made into law the Pandemic Influenza Act, 2006. This gave immunity from any suit and liability under federal and state law with respect to all claims for loss caused by, arising out of, relating to, or resulting from the administration to or the use by an individual of a covered countermeasure against a pandemic. 

Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson and all other pharmaceutical companies, who contribute a therapeutic or a vaccine to the Covid crisis, are effectively protected by this law from any claims. Big Pharma is one of the largest lobbies in D.C.

Don Young voted in favor of H.R. 1268, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005, which contains the Real ID Act.

This act requires all US Citizens by May 3, 2023, to meet the minimum-security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits certain federal agencies from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the act are accessing some federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding commercial aircraft.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was a result of Don Young’s chairmanship of the House Transportation Committee; that became law as part of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act on Nov. 19, 2001. Don Young voted for it.

Don Young voted for the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Title V (Sec. 509) provides that no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable for any voluntary action taken to restrict access to, or to enable information content providers to restrict access to, material that the user or provider considers to be objectionable, whether such material is constitutionally protected.

Don Young co-sponsored and voted for H.R. 2444 – Department of Education Organization Act. This separated federal education functions out of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and instituted the Department of Education in 1979. There is no constitutional authority for this activity. Education was and should remain a state responsibility. Remember, every federal grant has lots of strings.

The U.S. Department of Education is the leading federal agency for the indoctrination of America’s youth. Its policies and programs over the last several decades have dumbed down education outcome, promoted Marxist dogma and imperiled the financial futures of millions of young Americans.

Don Young voted for S. 3066, Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, H.R. 6655 (95th): Housing and Community Development Act of 1977 and H.R. 5334 (102nd): Housing and Community Development Act of 1992. 

The original Section 8 program, which was called the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, established project-based tenancy for eligible individuals and families. Subsidies were granted to certain residential properties to house Section 8 housing recipients. This act was the beginning of the modern era of income-based housing as well as the establishment of the federal government controlling the nation’s entire residential real estate development future. 

While the history of Don Young’s legislation promoted federal land transactions with Alaska Native Corporations, his record regarding State of Alaska’s lands concerns under the Statehood Act appears to be marginal at best.  It has now been 63 years since Alaska was promised lands for its selection. Still, today there are large areas of Alaska that the state selected that have not been transferred to the state.  Why?

Young has not addressed issues raised by the state-funded June of 2017 petition submitted by the Citizens Advisory Commission on Federal Areas. The Alaska State Lands Advisory Group recommends the State of Alaska submit the CACFA petition to the president and Congress on restructuring ownership and management of federal lands in Alaska to continue maintaining the environment and biodiversity, allow public access to public resources as guaranteed by Congress, and bolster economic development.

It is perhaps the best statement by the State of Alaska ever published on the status of federal lands in Alaska. CACFA was authored by Sen. Ted Stevens after he and his team exposed significant violations of law by federal agencies, that are now again revealed by this report and petition. 

Don Young calls himself a “strong supporter” of the Jones Act.  

The Jones Act of 1920 is a federal statute requiring vessels that, as Colin Grabow of the Cato Institute writes, “mandates that ships transporting cargo between two domestic ports be U.S.-owned, flagged, crewed, and built. For Alaska this means that goods shipped from Seattle to Anchorage, or between two Alaskan ports, must be performed by vessels meeting these requirements. A Canadian vessel sailing from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, to Anchorage, for example, is prohibited from stopping at Juneau along the way to pick up cargo destined for elsewhere in the state.”

“This is not only a direct assault on Alaskan’s freedoms, but their pocketbooks as well. Besides reducing competition, the law forces carriers who ply routes between Alaska and other domestic locales to buy U.S.-built ships that cost as much as eight times more than those from Asian shipyards. In addition, these ships are, on average, estimated to be 2.7 times more expensive to operate than their foreign counterparts.”

“Alaska is home to a large maritime industry that benefits from the Jones Act’s restrictions on foreign competition. In addition, unions have backed the law—no small thing in one of the country’s most unionized states. The average Alaskan may only be vaguely aware of the law and its costs, but rest assured maritime workers and union members maintain a much keener interest and vote accordingly.”

As with so much of what doesn’t make sense in Washington, the Jones Act represents the triumph of special interests.”

Looking at the above votes, laws and facts, is Don Young representing the people of Alaska and its future generations?

His actions have continued to suffocate free enterprise and freedom, while promoting federal corporatism, strengthening of unions, and establishing the Washington DC collective.

This was never the intent of our constitutional republic.

Instead of cutting federal spending, Don Young has increased spending and debt with every opportunity. Where will these disastrous policies of our nation’s money mismanagement leave our future generations?

Remember, every time you leave or return to Alaska on your favorite airlines think about the House Transportation Committee’s Chairman Don Young’s decision to create the TSA, which became a malignant part of your travel.

Don Young’s history as a swamp creature goes back decades.  He is the “Joe Biden” of the Republican side of the House of Representatives, promoting this stampede of collectivist centralization of the federal government.

Since his tenure, the greatest natural resource development potential in the nation has devolved from a sovereign state to a deep state from an independent state to a dependent colony.  Because of his actions (or non-actions), Alaska is now a bureaucratically controlled distant outpost whose dependence on the federal government grows with each day he remains in office. 

In today’s fear-driven environment, many Alaskans have forgotten the need to be directly involved in examining the political questions of the day. 

This amnesia has created a massive state bureaucracy with the costliest and the worst performance outcome for education in the nation and as well as the most costly health care per capita in the nation, and in the world, so costly that health insurance companies want you to fly first class with a companion at their cost to other states to get medical services.

If you are not active politically, you cannot begin to understand the width and depth of the issues we face as Alaskans and Americans.  If you don’t vote, you are not using one of the most important rights given to you in this nation.  If you don’t vote, you have no room for complaint.

It is apathy, laziness, and blind unquestioning faith that put a politician such as Don Young into office, only to discovery his failure to protect our freedoms and his collaboration in centralizing a behemoth federal government.

The upcoming 2022 election, as with every election, is the most important event in our lives. It will produce either the hard and steep steps necessary for Alaska to turn to liberty or flaccidly meander more than ever to the utopian soft tyranny of colonialism and Alaska’s growing socialist economy.

President Ronald Reagan warned that “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Alaska with the election results of 2022 will either continue to etch into the rock wall of its history the massive bureaucratic socialist colony it has become or require a change in direction by 180 degrees towards liberty.

Don Young has voted to raise the debt ceiling. He has marginalized freedom in favor of the slavery of increased debt and damaged almost irreversibly our state’s future as an independent sovereign. He has minimized Alaska to a colony and helped reinforce the collective center of an aristocracy which is Washington D.C. 

As many have noted more times than counted, the colonies fought to free themselves from the oppressive hand of royalty, the collective hegemony, the elites who will do anything to repress and suppress the remainder’s liberty.  The colonies in this effort agreed to a republic of states, a United States, and fought hard the greatest military force on the planet to ensure that a centralized government, an aristocracy, would not unilaterally control them.

Don Young has obeyed the call of unions, collectivism, the Jones Act and hedged his tenancy with repressive acts which do not benefit our freedom.

The federal government and special interests have effectively gouged Alaska since statehood with Don Young doing nothing to change it.

It is time to retire Don Young.  It’s time for a change.

Michael Tavoliero is a realtor in Eagle River, is active in the Alaska Republican Party and past chair of Eaglexit. 


  1. Yes!! Don needs to go! But so do MANY OF THE GOP uniparty members in this state. THE ALASKA GOP is a disgrace. Any leadership that has had power for more than 10 years PLEASE RESIGN!! You have Failed the people of Alaska.

  2. The US Constitution limits federal representation expressly. I’d like to see America get back to Constitutionality. It solves the campaign funds problem too. No need for huge campaigns. We select for our state then they work among the other shirt-term federal senators and congressmen. Then back home to take care of the family businesses. No permanent polly ticians.

  3. Don Young doesn’t represent Alaska anymore, he more likely to represent the Washington DC swamp. He should have been term limited years ago. Murkowski is gone completely off the rails and is a democrat.

  4. The Growth of the Federal Government in my lifetime going on 58 years has expotenally exploded to the size that nobody could have fathomed it to be. It is time we revers course and elect people who will restrict the Feds and return the management of our Union to the States where it belongs. If we do not I feel before my life on this earth ends I will see this Great Nation that I defend for over 30 years dissolve in to oblivion like so many Great Societies of the Past. Yes it is time for Don Young to go sit on the front porch rocking chair.

  5. I have voted for Don Young my entire life, but what really took the cake was his non support of Donald Trump, no president I can remember did more for Alaska, but both Young and Alaska’s red Jane turned on him. I am A firm believer in term limits. And to address Rinos, do not forget Giessel and Walker’s attack on our PFD.

  6. Well! His age and length of service only makes him more endearing to alaskans. I am sure some conservative candidate would had beaten him by now, or someone, if they were so hung up on his length of service and manly mannerisms. Like a debonaire politician they just have to have the right mix being endearing and charming to all (at least to most) and having a pleasant wife if you are a man doesn’t hurt at all, political insights and prowess, and intellect about alaska that matches their love and deep connection to alaska to do what is necessary according to whatever the present needs of most peoples and what life they are accustumed. Murkowski and Young have done well enough maintaining what we are used to recieving, evenwhile what we requested of them wasn’t where we should been being led as a state and nation. They do their best with what they know and what we, the people, allowed.

  7. Well! His age and length of service only makes him more endearing to alaskans. I am sure some conservative candidate would had beaten him by now, or someone, if they were . Not so hung up on his length of service and manly mannerisms. Like a good politician they just have to have the right mix being endearing and charming to all (at least to most) and having a pleasant wife if you are a man doesn’t hurt at all to him, cause how can the public hate a man if the wife is a doll and darling, having political insights and prowess, and intellect about alaska that matches their love and deep connection to alaska to do what is necessary according to whatever the present needs of most peoples and what life they are accustumed. Murkowski and Young have done well enough maintaining what we are used to recieving, evenwhile what we requested of them wasn’t where we should been being led as a state and nation. They do their best with what they know and what we, the people, allowed.

  8. Don is so crooked, that when he finally retires “permanently,” he will have to be screwed into the ground.

  9. I have always voted for Don Young since moving here 13 years ago from the Seattle area. Sadly, Don has apparently chased the dollar and has succumbed to the pull of Liberalism. He is heading Alaska down the same road as Seattle and Washington state. Go to Seattle and see where this gets you, my former home is a shambles.

  10. I sent a message to Don Young in November 2020. I was distressed over the extent of covid restrictions (particularly imposed on our military members) but also over the length of the public school closures. I got a canned reply explaining to me what Covid-19 is in November 2021. I don’t know what that elderly man does with his time other than fundraise, but he certainly doesn’t listen to his constituents or even attempt to advocate for or represent them. I will never vote for him again, even if I have to write in someone else’s name. His generation has absolutely bankrupted the country for their children and grandchildren, yet it seems they think we owe them thanks and admiration. They’ll get nothing but derision and scorn from me. He is a worthless sack of selfishness.

  11. Young had the chance, as little as two or tree terms ago, to retire gracefully as Alaska’s respected and beloved Congressman. Many things would have been named for him. He blew it. RIP

  12. And the time for Don Young to retire has finally come … and passed.
    Too bad his long-overdue retirement did not come in the way that it should have, voluntarily or by the decision of Alaskan voters.

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