Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young, who served in Congress for the longest period of time, has died. He was 88 years old.
Young’s death was reported by his office in a statement issued late Friday night.
Our office is grateful to the @USCapitol and the @WhiteHouse for lowering flags to half staff following the passing of the 45th Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/yAlnAvrsdk
— Rep. Don Young (@repdonyoung) March 20, 2022
Cause of Death
There was no indication of what caused his death. Details on plans for a tribute of Young’s life are scheduled to be released in the coming days, according to Young’s office.
Young, who was voted to the United States House of Representatives in 1973, was noted for his harsh demeanor.
During his final term in charge, his off-color remarks and gaffes sometimes eclipsed his accomplishments.
During his 2014 re-election campaign, he defined himself as “passionate and less-than-perfect.” However, he insisted he would not back down from his commitment to Alaska.
Alaska is represented by a single member of the House of Representatives.
The Dean was a man of the people who served the state of Alaska well. His office was a first-class museum and home to ~60 hunting trophies. Don Young was always joking around, but he was tough and knew how to get things done. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/AcHOSVgFap
— Rep. Lauren Boebert (@RepBoebert) March 19, 2022
About Young’s Life
Young did grow up on a family farm near Meridian, California, where he was born on June 9, 1933.
In 1958, he graduated from Chico State College, which is now known as Cal State, Chico, with a bachelor’s degree in education. According to his autobiography, he was also a member of the United States Army.
The now-deceased lawmaker ended up arriving in Alaska in 1959, the same year it was admitted as a state.
The Associated Press reported in 2016 that Young said he couldn’t tolerate the heat while working on a ranch. “I used to fantasize of somewhere cool where there were no snakes or poison oak,” he said.
Following his discharge from the service and the death of his father, he informed his mother that he was moving to Alaska. She expressed her skepticism about his choice.
“‘I’m going to go up (to) train dogs, capture fur, and mine gold,’ I said to my companion, and I went ahead and did it,” he said.
It was in Alaska that he met the woman who would become his first spouse, Lu. She persuaded him to pursue politics, which he admitted was terrible in one sense, since it took him to Washington, D.C.
He described the nation’s capital as “an area that is scorching and hotter than hell during the summer months. There are also a lot of snakes in this area, particularly two-legged snakes.”
While in Alaska, Young settled at Fort Yukon, a tiny settlement accessible mainly by air near the rocky and hostile interior of the state.
He worked in a variety of fields, including construction, trapping, and commercial fishing. As stated in his biography, he worked as a tug and barge operator, transporting supplies to settlements along the Yukon River.
He also served as a fifth-grade teacher at a Bureau of Indian Affairs elementary school. Joni and Dawn, his two kids from his marriage to Lu, were born.