Who has Don Young’s old office in the Rayburn Building?

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For over a decade, the late Alaska Congressman Don Young held the spacious Room 2314 in the Rayburn House Office Building, a short distance from the Capitol, accessible by the Capitol subway.

After the death of the Dean of the House on March 18, 2022, the office remained assigned to Alaska’s at-large seat, which was then vacant, except for orphaned staff, until September, when Rep. Mary Peltola was sworn in to complete Young’s term, and then she was able to remain in that office for the remaining months.

Then came the new term in January, and Peltola was assigned to Room 153 in the Cannon Office Building, where she has the House minimum of three rooms and a storage room, all of about 800 feet, and a shared bathroom down the hall.

Young’s office, 1,800 square feet with a much-coveted conference room and its own bathroom, has been turned over to Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, one of the most ardent gun-rights opponents in the House. Jackson Lee, who has served since 1995, has proposed a gun control bills that would create a national firearm registry, and set a minimum gun purchase age of 21. She has an 8% rating from the National Rifle Association.

The irony in that is Congressman Young was on the board of the NRA and in 2014 earned the organization’s highest rating — A+, for protecting Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee

While Congressman Young was known for his bipartisanship in the House, Rep. Jackson Lee votes with the Democrat Party, as does Rep. Mary Peltola of Alaska. Peltola and Jackson share almost identical voting records.

Before Young had decorated the Rayburn office with all kinds of Alaskana, including the heads of animals he had killed and a brown bear hide, 2314 was the place to find Wisconsin Democrat Rep. David Obey, who served 40 years in the House, from 1969 to 2011.

The current Dean of the House, Congressman Hal Rogers, a Republican from Kentucky, has served in the House since 1981. His office is 2406 Rayburn House Office Building, just down the hall from 2314.

Alaska went from having one of the largest offices in capitol complex, to a diminutive office on the main hallway of a building that is undergoing a massive renovation. But everyone in Washington, D.C. has to start somewhere, and Peltola, starting as a freshman Democrat lawmaker in a Republican-run House, is starting at the bottom.

26 COMMENTS

  1. You lost me at “on the board of the NRA”. The NRA is an antiquated money hungry lobbyist organization that does nothing but enrich their coffers off of the backs of unsuspecting 2nd Amendment supporters. They spend their time coming up with compromises to the 2A and paying for luxury European vacations for well dressed hacks.

    If you care about the 2A you will support Firearms Policy Coalition and Gun Owners of America.

    • Agree; left NRA years ago for the above reasons and immediately joined GOA. It is a very Pro 2A organization and very ethical.

  2. I guess that Sheila Jackson Lee threw one of her famous shrieking fits and someone gave her the office to shut her up. How else would she rate one of he largest offices? she is not really that senior and is in the minority to boot.

  3. Well she & Buzzy have those “over 200 guns” at their place in Bethel, if Mary ever gets a bigger place to display her armaments.
    Hoping she never moves up to the big office myself.
    I could see her voting to take away her own guns …lol.

  4. When I worked for Don Young in the 1990’s he was chairman of House Resources and later chairman of House Transportation. Newt Gingrich moved him up the ladder immediately. The Committee offices were all in the Longworth Building. Young’s personal congressional office was elsewhere, Canon I believe. Yes, it had all of the Alaska adornments on the wall, animal heads and pipeline era baseball caps. Most of them had construction logos. Young always loved to show off the animal heads to environmental activists. Nothing gave him greater pleasure than to “piss them off.”

    • Gosh, you say you worked for the Congressman? The space for personal offices of Members is assigned on the basis of seniority. As offices become vacant, the most senior Members can pick among the spaces. The ebbs and flows of the party in power do not come into play in this process, although there may have been exceptions. Congressman Young’s Rayburn office was prime space because it was located a short distance from an elevator that went directly to the Rayburn terminus for the subway to the Capitol. I believe the Congressman had another, less prime, office in the Rayburn before moving to RHOB 2314. Prior to that, Congressman Young’s personal office was at 1210 Longworth, with a large map of Alaska and plenty of trophy animals. To my knowledge he never had an office in the Cannon Building.

      BTW – the Speaker does not assign office space. The Committee on House Administration performs that function. Nor, when then is a Republican majority, does the Speaker select committee chairmen or chairwomen. Committee chairs are determined by the rules adopted by the House Republican Conference. The process used by the Democrats is different.

      • Interesting comments. Thank you, JMARK. You may have corrected me on Don’s Congressional office location. I was only there a couple times, for the office parties. I was a staffer for the Committee On Resources in LHOB. There were approximately 45 Members of Congress on the Resource Committee, which Don chaired. The standing committee was broken down into five sub-committees. Staff attorney for the standing committee was David Dye, who later went on to become an Assistant Secretary of Labor under G. Bush.
        .
        Don rarely spent much time with us, but Lou, his wife, came by and took us to lunch every so often. Don was too busy polishing up floor speeches, putting together his famously tart language, and finding new ways to water down the ESA.
        .
        1994 ushered in a large freshman class and the Contract With America. Bill Clinton was busy having flings with young girls in the WH and Newt Gingrich was Speaker. While you may be technically correct about how the committee chairs are selected by the HRC, I can tell you from first-hand knowledge that Don Young got his Chairmanship for Resource Committee on direct appeal to Newt Gingrich.

    • I’m wondering where all his souvenirs from his office went..Some, I know returned to his family but what happened to the other items.?? All the hunting trophies, and the other items.. I hope they were returned to only Alaskan people if not to his family.(Some of his ardent DC friends, of course.)

  5. JMARK:

    ps. Just down the hall from us in Longworth (LHOB) was none other than Congressman Sonny Bono’s office. He was just elected to Congress and very friendly. He had an interest in Alaska and in private land legislation. We shared many cups of coffee. He died after one term of service, in a skiing accident.

    • A former FBI agent has claimed that 1960s pop star Sonny Bono was assassinated.
      Ted Gunderson said that Cher‘s former husband was targeted in a politically-motivated assassination in January 1998.

      ‘https://www.nme.com/news/music/nme-1352-1322477

      • Always wondered about Sonny Bono’s death.
        Officially, he supposedly ran head on into a tree at a Colorado ski resort. There were no witnesses.

  6. This is a clear example of the need for term limits. The longer a representative or senator stays in office, the more powerful they become. Obviously, when certain senators and reps become more powerful than others then American citizens are no longer represented equally. In other words, the hierarchical system of seniority results in unequal representation of citizens. It is a violation of the equal protection clause. We need a constitutional amendment limiting every office in the land to one term only.

  7. Good grief, MRAK can make something partisan about anything, including who gets someone’s office. Then the right wing nuts on here pile on higher and deeper. Is this what passes for journalism these days?

    • Cman,
      Suzanne only has about 50,000 readers, not to mention the few 10’s of thousands who would never admit to reading MRAK. The governor and his administration read MRAK. Politically atuned from both parties read MRAK. Even from out of state. MRAK is the reason The Daily News, the Newsminer, and The Empire are constantly struggling with sales and credibility. Especially, credibility.

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