Don Young, longest-serving GOP congressman, to lie in state

Politics

390287 13: House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young (R-AK), center, speaks as Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune, left, and Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher, right, look on June 7, 2001 during a press conference concerning air passenger customer service improvements on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Don Young, the longest-serving Republican in House history, will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol on March 29, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday.

Young’s office announced the congressman’s death in a statement Friday night. He was 88.

Young, who was first elected to the House in 1973, was known for his brusque style and for bringing federal investment to his home state. He was elected in 2020 to serve his 25th term as Alaska’s only member.

Pelosi’s office said a formal ceremony will be held with the Young family, which will be open to invited guests. Following the memorial service, there will be a viewing open to members of Congress. Lying in state is an honor traditionally bestowed upon American political and military leaders. Young will lie in state in National Statuary Hall.

Pelosi said after Young’s passing that he was an “institution” in Congress.

“The photographs of him with 10 presidents of both parties who signed his bills into law that proudly cover the walls of his Rayburn (House) office are a testament to his longevity and his legislative mastery,” she said.

President Joe Biden said few legislators left a greater mark on their state than Young.

“Don’s legacy lives on in the infrastructure projects he delighted in steering across Alaska,” Biden said.

Most recently, Young won $23.7 million for Alaska for water, road and other projects in the governmentwide $1.5 trillion spending bill Biden signed into law this week, according to an analysis of that bill by The Associated Press. It is one of the highest amounts for home-district projects that any House member had in the legislation.

Earlier, he was one of only 13 Republicans who voted for a roughly $1 trillion package of road and other infrastructure projects, which he described as perhaps the country’s “last best chance” to make the federal investments necessary to strengthen the country’s infrastructure needs for the next century and beyond.

Young came to Alaska in 1959, the same year Alaska became a state, and credited Jack London’s “Call of the Wild,” which his father used to read to him, for drawing him north.

Young served as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee from 1995 to 2001 and then as the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2001 to 2007.

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