Name: Don Young
District: U.S. House of Representatives
Party Affiliation: Republican
Where were you born? Meridian, California
If you weren't born in Alaska, when did you come here? 1959
Age on election day: 85
If you've attended college, which schools did you attend? What's your highest degree achieved?
Associate degree from Yuba Junior College in 1952, and Bachelor’s degree in teaching from Chico State College in 1958.
What is or was your main career?
Teacher, trapper, riverboat Captain, Congressman for All Alaska
If you've held or run for public office before, which one(s)?
Mayor of Fort Yukon (1964), Alaska State Representative (1966-1970), Alaska State Senator (1970-1973), Congressman for All Alaska (1973-present)
If you have a spouse or significant other whom you live with, what is their name?
Lula Fredson Young (1963-2009, deceased), Anne Garland Walton (2015 – present)
If you have children, what are their first names and ages?
Joni and Dawn
Why are you running for office?
My motivation today is as strong as it was when I first ran for Congress. My vision remains the same – to provide all Alaskans with the opportunity for a better life not just for today, but also for tomorrow and the future. Being the sole representative for the entire state requires understanding how Congress operates. This knowledge and experience I have coupled with the relationships I have developed allow me to fight for our state and our way of life. I’ve passed more bills than any other Congressman and my bills are focused on Alaska which directly impact a community in our state. I believe my ability to reach across the aisle and solve problems allows me to advocate for Alaska and our many diverse needs.
What are the most important issues facing Alaska?
Jobs, the economy, government overreach, crime, burdensome regulations -- the list goes on. And in many ways, these issues are all connected. For too many years, the “government knows best” approach stifled innovation, shut down job creation and new wealth so our economy could not grow. With the implementation of H.R.1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Alaskans of all backgrounds will be seeing more money in their pockets to invest their hard-earned money to meet their needs. This bill also delivers historic relief for small businesses so they can continue to grow. I believe jobs can be created through responsible resource development which will help generate new revenue for the state which can help reinvigorate our economy and help create new opportunities for all Alaskans.
What would you do to reduce crime in Alaska?
Central to reducing crime in Alaska is the investment and implementation of programs such as Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E), and Boys and Girls Clubs which seek to prevent our youth from engaging in this kind of activity and provide them with safe and secure environments. Additionally, I continue to support federal investment in public safety, this includes DOJ grants that help our local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies combat crime and investments in programs such as the Regional Information Sharing System, which connects local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement databases, allowing them to share information and intelligence. Furthermore, I support efforts to help adults seeking to get away from this lifestyle; this includes programs which provide these adults with a support community and legislation which aims to reduce recidivism by providing inmates with the necessary tools to help them to reintegrate and become successful members of society.
Should Permanent Fund earnings be used to pay for state government? How much?
Our approach to the state’s fiscal situation should focus on prioritizing increased natural resource development, building a manufacturing base, and spurring more robust economic activity. This is the best course for generating new wealth that supports a healthy state budget. Alaskans are deeply invested in the future of the permanent fund. Considerations as to any potential changes to the fund fall within the jurisdiction of the state, and not within my purview as your representative in Congress. That said, I believe that state leaders have a responsibility to listen to the voice of the people of Alaska when it comes to permanent fund decision-making.
Have humans contributed to climate change, and if so, does the state bear any responsibility to undo some of the effects?
Climate change is undeniable; we have seen the effects first-hand in Alaska. However, I have serious questions as to the impact of humans on global climate. I believe Alaska, along with the rest of the U.S., should continue working to reduce carbon dioxide emissions but it is critical to remember that Alaska’s energy and economic futures are mutually dependent – with cheap energy comes increased industry, jobs, and a stronger economy. Alaska has enormous energy potential and I have supported the use of renewables where possible. I have worked hard to expand access to hydropower in Southeast and think more needs to be done to develop wind and geothermal potential in the Aleutians. However, I am also proud to have opened ANWR to exploration and development. Alaska has a wealth of natural resources, and I believe we should continue to develop them to further our interests and build our economy.
Do you agree or disagree with Gov. Walker's decision to expand Medicaid in 2014? How much do you believe that decision cost the state treasury?
Originally, the Obama Administration attempted to force states to expand Medicaid coverage. The Supreme Court rejected that overreach and left it up to the states. I always believed it should up to the people of Alaska to decide whether to expand Medicaid. We have seen benefits with the expansion including greater coverage for children, individuals with disabilities, and some seniors. At the same time we have also seen a large increase in Medicaid spending nationally, now around $600 billion total. Of course, Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal government and the states, but specific to the expansion population the cost to Alaska has been relatively limited given the federal government pays 94% of cost in 2018. However, there is the potential for more of that burden to be shifted to the states given federal debt and deficits which is in part why some states chose not to expand Medicaid.