Young to seek 20th term in Congress

'There's no chance that I'm not going to run,' says 76-year-old rep

Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ANCHORAGE - U.S. Rep. Don Young and his anti-Big Government message will seek a 20th term in the office.

Young, 76, filed Monday with the Division of Elections and said he wanted to make it clear to potential challengers that he was not retiring.

"There's people that are interested in this job," Young said. "Let's not kid yourself. If there are, I want them to know there's no chance that I'm not going to run. I'm going to continue to run as long as I'm able to do the job."

No challengers have filed to face Young in the 2012 race.

With his wife, Lu, at his side, Young said he would welcome challengers but that he's the best person for the job.

Young has been the Alaska's lone U.S. House representative for most of statehood.

He was the Republican candidate in the 1972 general election against incumbent Democrat Nick Begich. Three weeks before the election, Begich's plane disappeared on a flight from Anchorage to Juneau. Alaskans re-elected the Democrat anyway.

Begich was declared dead in December 1972 and Young won a close special election in March 1973.

He has ridden a platform of gun rights, development and federal aid to build up Alaska infrastructure ever since.

Young was re-elected last year despite facing federal investigations of connections to Bill Allen, an Alaska businessman convicted of bribing state lawmakers, and a spending bill earmark that benefited a campaign supporter in Florida.

In the Republican primary, Young edged Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell by 304 votes, then trounced former state House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz, an Anchorage Democrat, in the general election.

Young said Monday he can maintain his effectiveness despite his status as a minority member, and can serve Alaska better than a freshman because of his longtime relationships.

"I have a better working relationship with the D's than I do with some of the R's," he said, ticking off the names in the House leadership, James Oberstar of Minnesota, Nick Rahall of West Virginia, David Obey of Wisconsin and John Dingell of Michigan.

Moments later, he castigated a piece of legislation that all but Rahall voted for: the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

"The climate bill that passed the House last Friday is, I think, is probably the most telling negative bill ever passed," Young said. "It is a tax on all individuals in Alaska."

The bill is aimed at curbing global warming, a phenomenon Young historically has denied, or denied is attributable to humans. The legislation, which faces an uncertain future in the Senate, would place the first national limits on emissions of greenhouse gases from major sources such as power plants, factories and oil refineries, requiring the United States to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and by 83 percent by mid-century.

If the proposal becomes law, it could make it more expensive for people to heat, cool and light their homes. It could also mean more smaller, fuel efficient and hybrid electric cars.

Young estimated it raise taxes $1,000 per household.

"This is Big Brother in the worst example," he said.

Changes in the health care system will be one of the biggest challenges facing Congress.

"If you have a better system, then let's look at it," he said. "What's being proposed now is less care," lacking accessibility and portability, he said.

Americans should be concerned with the "awesome" debt accumulated in recent months and how the country will pay for reforms.

"We're not producing in the United States as we did in the past," he said. "We're living on printed dollars. We're borrowing from overseas."

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