Rep. Don Young eulogizes the late Rep. Elijah Cummings - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, March 29, 2020
HomePoliticsRep. Don Young eulogizes the late Rep. Elijah Cummings

Rep. Don Young eulogizes the late Rep. Elijah Cummings

Congressman Don Young showed a tender side of himself on Thursday that sometimes Alaskans don’t see beneath his frontiersman exterior.

Young wrote on Facebook about his colleague, Congressman Elijah Cummings, who died at the age of 68:

“Early this morning we lost my dear friend, Congressman Elijah Cummings. Elijah was a good man, a strong advocate for his constituents, and he loved this institution and this country. Today the halls of Congress are emptier without him. May God bless him and his family,” Young wrote.

Young is very popular among members of the Congressional Black Caucus and has cordial relationships across the aisle with Democrats, even with those who have voted against Alaska’s interests, as Cummings has time and again.

Cummings, from Baltimore, Maryland, and Young, from Fort Yukon, Alaska, couldn’t be more different: Young is pro-Second Amendment, while Cummings was anti-gun. Young made sure that opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge passed the House of Representatives several times (before also passing the Senate and being signed by a president). But Cummings voted against opening ANWR. Cummings also voted against the authorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

But there were things they agreed on in the 23 years that they served together in Congress.

In January, Young and Cummings introduced the Federal Labor-Management Partnerships Act — H.R. 1316 — to re-establish a National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations. The council has been on-again, off-again through the past few presidents. When active, it allows federal officials and labor officials to get together and talk through labor issues on a regular basis. And in April, when Cummings introduced  H.R.2004, to ensure federal benefits for federal workers during shutdowns, Young signed on as a cosponsor.

Several commenters on Facebook disapproved of Young’s kind words and said Cummings didn’t deserve such praise because he fought for everything that seems counter to most Alaskans’ interests.

Cummings was born into a family of sharecroppers and became a civil rights leader, starting his fight for civil rights at age 11, when he was beat up by a mob of whites for trying to integrate a public swimming pool. He was placed into special education classes for slow learners, but credited four white teachers for pulling him out of those classes and convincing him he could learn. He went on to graduate from Howard University, and from the University of Maryland School of Law. He passed the Maryland Bar exam and practiced law for 19 years before running first for State House, and later for Congress.

Most of his constituents in Maryland’s 7th District are African-American and he has hero status in his district.

At the time of his death, he chaired one of the committees pursuing impeachment of President Donald Trump, the House Oversight and Reform Committee. He took over the committee in January; the previous chair was Republican Trey Gowdy. That committee will now be chaired by Democrat Rep. Carolyn Maloney, of New York.

As for what happens next in the mourning of Cummings, flags have been lowered and because he died in office, his body will likely rest in state in the Capitol Rotunda, an honor reserved for some of the nation’s most eminent citizens.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Thoughtful comments by the Dean of the House of Representatives.
    Thank you.

  • That is a classy move, and one very fitting for a good US Congressman. We need more leaders who can disagree strongly at times, and yet maintain respect for others.

  • He came a long way so I’ll give him that. He was brutally on the wrong side of the table most of the time though. Was against certain constitutional amendments and definitely had a big old chip on his shoulder. A worthy adversary.

  • So sad to hear it when people are cruel to those that have passed. Although differing views, Congressmen Young and Cummings respected each other. They were/are both there to serve their constituents in the best way possible. Behind each deceased human, there is a grieving family and friends. Be respectful of that.

    • Yes. No one here has done that though.

      • Nope. Was referring to the editor’s comment in the article about people on the Facebook.

  • Begs the question:. would Cummings have eulogized Don Young at Young’s funeral? What would he have said?

    • Interesting. I think Don is the bigger man. EC has said some hateful, racist things that are hard to forget.

      • Greg, you are correct. And yes, Don is the bigger man.

  • I wonder if President Trump is going to his funeral? All of his good friends will be there..

    • Trump will be there. Trump has class and dying is dying. When somebody dies we all look back on that person’s life and reflect on the impact they made to persons or society. Did he make the country better or stronger? Time will tell that we will not debate that here today.

      • Mao made a huge impact. So did Castro and Guevarra. If you want to see the impact Cummings, made take a walk through Baltimore.

        • If you go……wear your waders…..and hold your nose.

      • If Trump does go, let us hope that he is not given the honor of speaking. Such a cruel, cruel person. To our eternal shame, we have elected him as our President.

        • You didn’t elect him. We did. Stop trying to take credit for all the hard work he has done trying to protect out borders, create jobs, lessening the unemployed, making us feared again in the bad places in the world, respected in others. Making countries pay their share for us to protect them, working with N. Korea on a path to denuclearize and unify, appoint great justices, you know, basically the best/only leadership we have had in a decade.

          • ……WHO will eulogized Trump?

  • Well said.

  • Repost:

    It’s the person that I find so repulsive, GF – not all of the policies, but most. I’ve been a Republican most of my life, but no more.
    Why? Trump is openly racist. He’s a draft dodger. He’s a serial adulterer. He cheats his business associates, and probably also the Government on his taxes. He’s thoroughly autocratic. He sabotages efforts to mitigate global warming. He belittles military heroes. He’s foul-mouthed. He eagerly divides the country. He’s lazy – physically and intellectually. He’s greedy. He’s self-dealing. He’s the quintessential bully. He tries to take health care away from people. He raises taxes on the middle class and gives his rich buddies a tax break. He eliminates hard-won environmental protections solely out of spite for his predecessor (who has the respect of the Nation that he so ardently envies). He abandons our allies. He gives narcissism a bad name. I could go on.
    Pull out your list of The Seven Deadly Sins and start checking the boxes. He ticks them all.
    Is this really the kind of person we want our children to emulate? Do we want him to be their example? Hardly not.
    Look, the GOP has a history of being a respected party in this land, but they have now, out of fear and thirst for power, sold their souls to this guy. Slowly, they are realizing that no one who associates themselves with Trump comes away unscathed, and cracks are starting to form.
    There are plenty of other respected Republicans who could effectively carry the banner, and who could do so while building some goodwill with the opposition. A little of this would go a long way, but alas that’s not how Trump’s daddy or Roy Kohn taught him to be.
    History will not look kindly on Trump. He will forever be viewed as a cruel and destructive individual – a true pariah if ever there was one. Perhaps the same can be said for those who support him. Open your eyes, GF. Think for yourself and don’t just repeat what you’ve heard on Fox and Rush. You can do better than this, and you’ll feel better about yourself when you finally see the light and quit this defective human product.
    In the mean time, we’ll all just hold our breath and hope that Trump doesn’t ignite a civil war, or burn down the whole damn planet.

    • Concern troll is concerned.

    • LOL. He didn’t run for Pope. His is running American business. Doing a good job of it. I wouldn’t want to have a daughter be with him. Try not too get so emotional about the personal side of things. As long as the outcome is what’s best for America, I’m good with it. I don’t watch Fox or listen to Rush. They in turn may read what I write.

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