Home US Alaska Congressman Don Young Dies At 88
US - March 19, 2022

Alaska Congressman Don Young Dies At 88

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) has died at age 88. The longest-serving member of the 117th Congress, holding the job for 48 years, was known for being colorful, confrontational and often unpredictable.

Young often said he would stay in office until the Alaska voters or God decided otherwise, reported Alaska Public Media station KTOO.

Lobbyist Jack Ferguson, who was Young’s friend and his first chief of staff, confirmed the news Friday afternoon.

Ferguson said he was told by a representative of Alaska Airlines that Young died in an airport, but there were no other immediate details, according to KTOO.

“I just got a call from Alaska Airlines,” Ferguson said. “They told me that Don died in Concourse B. I was so shocked I didn’t even ask if that was here in Anchorage or in Seattle,” he added.

Young’s office issued a statement late Friday about the death.

“It is with heavy heart that we announce Congressman Don Young passed away today while traveling to Alaska to be with the state and people that he loved. His beloved wife, Annie, was at his side,” it noted.

Young was a onetime teacher, trapper and riverboat captain from Fort Yukon. He was first elected to Alaska’s sole House seat in 1973 and had won reelection in 2020 to his 25th term.

He had been seeking reelection this year for a 26th term.

Young was proud of his brash, larger-than-life style, CQ Roll Call reported in a 2014 profile.

He sometimes flouted ethics rules. He even reportedly seemed to threaten a life — telling a onetime Democratic challenger that the last person to touch him “ended up on the ground dead,” Roll Call reported. It was an accusation with “some truth” to it, he told the publication.

He complained to Roll Call that most other lawmakers on Capitol Hill were “cookie cutters.” He boasted that had always been himself while many of his colleagues simply played up to the TV cameras.

He was really just a “big Teddy bear,” he told Roll Call — unless someone crossed him.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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