Congressman Don Young seeks re-election after 33 years in D.C.

Posted: Tuesday, April 18, 2006

ANCHORAGE - Alaska's only congressman for the last 33 years signed up Monday to seek another term.

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Republican Don Young, accompanied by his wife, Lu, filed for re-election at the Division of Elections office in Anchorage and recalled the first time he filed.

"It seems like yesterday," Young said. "That's one of the best parts about it. It's been a very good ride."

Young said he will continue to run as long as his wife backs him and he's physically able to handle the rigors of Congress.

"I know we're right for the state," he said, citing the benefits Alaska receives because of his seniority.

Young ranks third in seniority among House Republicans and is the eighth-ranking overall member of the House of Representatives.

He chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is vice chairman of the House Resource Committee. He's also a member of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security. Along with U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, Young has been able to parlay his seniority into high per capita federal aid, and he makes no apology for it.

"We're a new state," Young said, and federal aid is needed for infrastructure for the time when Alaska can no longer rely on oil for wealth.

A tireless advocate of development in the state, Young said he would continue efforts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling and to see construction of a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to the Lower 48.

The outspoken congressman has frequently railed against federal intrusions into Alaska affairs but as chairman of the House Transportation Committee, clashed with the White House over a $275 billion transportation spending bill, which the administration called too expensive.

Young said he plans to run a strong campaign whether he faces a strong opponent or not.

He said he believes the Republicans will keep control of the Congress. The election could see a low turnout, he said, but those voting are likely to be backing Republican candidates.

Young began his political career in rural Alaska.

Living in Fort Yukon, he worked as a teacher during the school year and as a tug and barge captain summers. He was elected mayor in 1964 and to the Legislature two years later, where he held a House seat from 1966 to 1970 and a Senate seat from 1970 to 1973.

Young won his first term in the U.S. House in 1973, filling a vacancy left by the death of Democratic Rep. Nick Begich.

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