Alaska House Majority passes bill declaring Don Young Day

FastCast digital headlines for Thursday, April 20, 2023.
Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 4:03 PM AKDT
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska House Majority voted on Wednesday to establish Don Young Day in honor of the longtime congressman who died in March of 2022.

House Bill 141 will amend the list of legal holidays in Alaska Statute 44.12 to include language dedicating June 9 as Don Young Day, which is “to be observed by suitable observances and exercises.”

Don Young was born in California on June 9, 1933, and moved to Alaska in 1959. Young was elected mayor of the town of Fort Yukon in 1964 before being elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1966. He served in the Alaska Senate from 1971 to 1973, and despite losing his initial bid for Congress in 1972, won a special election for that seat won by the deceased Nick Begich.

“This bill recognizes the extraordinary service of Congressman Don Young and provides a meaningful way for Alaskans to honor his legacy,” House Speaker Cathy Tilton said.

United States Sen. Dan Sullivan thanked the Legislature for recognizing the former dean of the senate’s contributions to the state and nation.

”I want to thank the Alaska Legislature for coming together to honor the once-in-a-generation public servant, Congressman Don Young, and all that he accomplished for the people and state he loved so much. Whether fighting against federal overreach or for Alaskan economic opportunities, Don stood up for Alaskans every day,” Sen. Sullivan said.

A press release from the Alaska House Majority expresses the unified support within the House for the commemorative action.

“This day will be a way for Alaskans to honor Congressman Young’s long record of public service,” House Rules Chair Representative Craig Johnson said. “Don Young was a true statesman and a fierce advocate for Alaska. He worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Alaskans and his impact will be felt for generations to come.”

“The overwhelming support by the House to pass HB 141 demonstrates the House’s respect for Congressman Young’s legacy and the significant impact he made on the state of Alaska. By establishing Don Young Day, the people of Alaska will have an annual opportunity to honor and remember the remarkable service of this distinguished public servant,” the press release said.