Rep. Don Young looks to secure 25th term
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Longtime Alaskan Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, faces what could be his closest race yet in his 47-year tenure as the state’s lone representative in the U.S. House. Young, 87, is challenged for the second time by independent Alyse Galvin, who is running as the Democratic nominee.
During the 2016 race, Young secured 53% of the state’s votes, with Galvin trailing at 46.5%, the closest a challenger has come since 1990.
Young has served 24 terms as Alaska’s representative, making him the longest-serving member of the current House, as well as the longest-serving Republican. That tenure, along with a history of securing large projects for the state alongside the late Sen. Ted Stevens, has earned Young the moniker of “Alaska’s third senator.”
“I don’t even know who’s running against me,” Young said in an October interview. “Because I believe in the job I can do and the decision of the Alaskans. And I believe they will again select Don Young because I’ve got the knowledge, I’ve got the experience and I’ve got the fire to do it.”
Since his 1973 inauguration, Young has fought to increase resource development in Alaska, beginning with his battle for approval of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. In recent years, Young highlighted his work towards opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a boon for Alaskans.
“It took me 14 times to pass it out of the house, bipartisan-wise,” Young said during an interview on the Get Out the Native Vote Program. “Even as a minority, I got it done.”
Young first moved to Alaska in 1959, eventually settling in Fort Yukon, where he first entered public service as the village’s mayor in 1964. Two years later, Young moved on to the state legislature as a representative and later a state senator in 1970.
Young has cited his long political career and the work in it, as a major point towards his reelection.
“Why would you change?” he said in October. “It’s sort of like having your heart worked on for 10 years with a fine heart doctor, and then say, ‘Let’s have change and go hire a dishwasher to work on your heart.’ I mean, what is the purpose of change if I’m doing the job? And I’m doing the job. No one can deny that.”
At his campaign watch party Tuesday night, Young celebrated early results in the polls and expressed confidence in being reelected for a 25th term. When asked about plans if he is reelected, Young said he would continue to focus on fighting for what he believes Alaskans want, namely revitalizing the economy through resource development.
“I’m really a resource-oriented individual," he said. "Resources are the key to this state, and to not take in development is wrong for the state as a whole.”
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