Young, the Dean of the House, had served the people of Alaska for over 49 years in Congress. Throughout his tenure in the House, he was known for being as wild as the Alaskan frontier, but also as an effective lawmaker who knew how to work with both sides of the aisle.
In honor of his legacy, Leader McCarthy delivered a eulogy during today’s ceremony to pay tribute to the late representative for his years of friendship and decades of service to the American people.
“Throughout my time in Congress, many have come and gone, but few have had as great an impact as our Dean, Rep. Don Young.
“When Don moved to Alaska, he tried his hand at everything.
“He was a tugboat captain.
“He was a mayor.
“But he told me that the job that prepared him most to be a member of Congress was teaching the 5th grade.
“I don’t know what kind of teacher Don was in Alaska — but I imagine he was good because he was a great teacher here in Congress.
“Today, I want to pay tribute to this special mentor and larger-than-life individual.
“But first, I want to talk about the first time I met Don.
“They lied to me at freshman orientation. They told me nobody has an assigned seat in the House.
“That’s how I got to know Don Young.
“I made the mistake of coming in and sitting down in his seat right by the door.
“I learned a valuable lesson that day: Don kept a knife.
“Everyone in this room probably has their own Don Young story.
“But what you may not know about Don was that he was a man of strong faith.
“In fact, he would attend Bible Study with other members every single Thursday at 1 pm.
“Don loved to talk about the word of God. But Don never changed his language, even at Bible Study.
“Don was strong in his faith and in his language.
“Let’s be honest: Don was as rough as the Alaskan wild. But he was always a man after God’s own heart.
“Like King David.
“Like David, Don was a hard-nosed warrior who was tough on his enemies.
“But Don was also tender-hearted, like David in the book of Psalms.
“And David wrote these words in Psalm 139:16… ‘all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.’
“Don’s days in this House numbered more than 17,000 – and he probably yelled for ‘regular order’ more times than that.
“Think about all the things he saw. Think about all the things he did.
“He was the lead sponsor of 123 bills that became law — including the Trans-Alaskan pipeline and ANWR leases.
“10 presidents signed his bills into law.
“He served with 9 Speakers and more than 2,000 members of Congress.
“His decades of service have filled every room and touched every member. But most of all, it touched every corner of his beloved home of Alaska.
“His absence will leave Congress less colorful, and certainly less punctual. But his legacy will live on.
“Don, we will miss you. But most importantly, we will never forget you. Thank you and God Bless.”