WHEREAS, born the middle son of Lawhead Young Sr. and Arlene Young-Harris on June 9, 1933, in Meridian, California, Donald Edwin Young was the fourth Congressman to represent Alaska and the 45th Dean of the United States House of Representatives; and
WHEREAS, after serving in the 41st Tank Battalion from 1955 to 1957, Don received an encouraging letter from his father and a reminder of Jack London’s Call of the Wild that inspired him to leave California for Alaska; and
WHEREAS, after brief stints as a schoolteacher, trapper, and riverboat captain, Don was elected to the Alaska State House of Representatives in 1966, then served in the Alaska State Senate from 1970 until 1973, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; and
WHEREAS, as Alaska’s sole Congressman for most of its statehood, Don was the longest-serving Republican in Congressional history, and his unwavering dedication and resilient representation of Alaska at the national level enabled him to support legislation that benefitted all Alaskans by preserving our landscape and our way of life for generations to come; and
WHEREAS, Congressman Young passed away on March 18, 2022, while traveling home to Alaska with his wife, Anne, by his side, and he was laid in state at the United States Capitol on March 29, 2022, to honor the man who devoted nearly five decades of his life to defending Alaskan resources and values at the highest level of government; and
WHEREAS, on December 21, 2022, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill to rename Mount Cerberus – an active volcano on Semisopochnoi Island – to Mount Young, and as a further homage, the measure also renamed the federal office building in Fairbanks and the Job Corps Center in Palmer to reflect the Don Young name in his memory; and
WHEREAS, the legacy of Congressman Don Young encompasses more than just his 67 years of service to our nation and our state, and although he was famous for his gruff exterior, those blessed to know him understood that his heart was as big as the Alaska that he loved so dearly.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim March 18, 2023 as:
Don Young Day
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to celebrate and honor the contributions of Congressman Don Young through his lifetime of service to the State of Alaska and to the United States of America.
Dated: March 18, 2023