Candidate's name: Don Young
Date of birth: June 9, 1933
Occupation:U.S. Congressman, Alaska At-Large
Employment history: Riverboat captain (1966-1972); Elementary school teacher, Fort Yukon (1960-1967); Trapper (1960-1967)
Previous public offices held: U.S. House of Representatives (March 6, 1973 present); Alaska State Senate (1970-1973); Alaska State House of Representatives (1966-1970); Fort Yukon mayor (1964 1966); Fort Yukon City Council (1960-1964)
Previous unsuccessful runs for office: U.S. House of Representatives (1972)
Education: Associate's degree, Yuba Junior College, (1952); bachelor's in teaching, Chico State University (1958); honorary law degree, University of Alaska Fairbanks (1985).
Military service: 41st Tank Battalion US Army 1955-1957
Spouse name: Lu Young
Children: Joni Nelson, Dawn Vallely
Web site: www.donyoung08.com
1. Why are you running for office?
Alaska is my home and I care deeply about its future. I believe I am the best person for the job because I have excellent relationships with members on both sides of the aisle; I'm able to accomplish things for Alaska regardless of which party is in control. I've been able to do this job because of the support of Alaskans and my family and together we can do even more in the coming years.
2. The most important issue in this election is ____.
Energy. This issue affects every man, woman and child daily. It impacts our schools, hospitals and churches. The Democrat Congress has no plans to pass any bills that will improve the lives of Alaskans. I am pushing for a real energy policy, HR 6107, which takes care of our immediate energy needs but also looks to the future with alternative and renewable energy development. Alaskans should not have to choose between heat and groceries.
3. What specifically should Congress do, if anything, to address rising energy prices?
Congress must develop America's resources, and begin investing in alternative and renewable energy programs and infrastructure. The switch to alternative and renewable energy will be gradual, and opening America's natural resources to development will bridge this gap and free the stranglehold foreign nations have on America.
4. If oil and gasoline prices continue to rise, could you support government price controls?
Absolutely not; we've tried price controls once before in the 1970s. That attempt at price controls brought us an oil shortage and long lines at the pump. Oil prices are a result of supply and demand, and we must increase domestic production.
5. Do you support drilling in ANWR? If the answer is yes, tell us something new that you as a member of Congress can do to open the coastal plain to drilling.
Yes. I know it can be done safely and add decades to the pipeline's life. I am doing new things to try to open ANWR. This year, I convinced some long-time ANWR opponents to join me on a bill to take revenue from ANWR to fund alternative and renewable energy programs. That bill has also attracted Democratic support and now has more than 180 bipartisan cosponsors; more than any ANWR bill in history.
6. TransCanada has suggested the federal government can help the proposed Alaska gas line by acting as a "bridge shipper." That means the federal government would agree to buy enough gas to fill the line if necessary, or at least guarantee the equivalent revenue stream for the pipeline owner. Will you support legislation to do this?
If I thought this was achievable, I might support it, but this proposal isn't realistic. We have already tried to address the unresolved fiscal issues that continue to threaten and delay progress. That effort was met with immediate opposition from other parts of the country that produce natural gas; it would put investments in their states at a competitive disadvantage. We've done what we can at the federal level. It's up to the state now.
7. Do you support offshore drilling in Bristol Bay?
Yes. When a majority of Alaskans who live closest to the proposed exploration area were opposed, I supported the moratorium. However, times have changed; most of these Alaskans now support offshore exploration and the much-needed jobs and economic diversity it will bring to the region. I also understand the concerns of those who remain opposed and believe their input deserves thorough consideration under a fair and open public process, without interference from outside interest groups.
8. What can the federal government or Congress do to further a natural gas pipeline should state measures such as an AGIA license fail to pass, or fail to "induce" a pipeline?
Nothing, short of nationalizing the North Slope resource, and I do NOT support that. Any federal attempts to "induce" or "force" companies to build a pipeline and/or commit their gas would lead to litigation. This would delay progress even further. We have secured $18 billion in federal loan guarantees and authorized and funded a federal coordinating office, based in Alaska, to expedite the process once the project gets moving. It's up to the state now. 9. Some say oil companies have leased vast public acreage and are now sitting on the leases without drilling. Point Thomson in Alaska has been mentioned as an example. Do you believe this has anything to do with our energy crunch?
Point Thomson is a legitimate state issue. The other is a phony argument made up by the same people who oppose ANWR. It's a smokescreen to cover up their opposition to domestic energy production at a time when Americans are suffering. The same people making that argument are the ones who have stopped energy production in America for decades. They, and the media that support them, are to blame for our energy problem.
10. Rural Alaska has been hit particularly hard by high fuel prices. Are there specific steps Congress or a member of Congress should take to address this?
Yes. When the people closest to the proposed Bristol Bay exploration area asked for my support for affordable energy, they got it. We have tremendous energy resources of all kinds. We have huge oil, gas, hydro, wind, geothermal, and clean coal energy potential. We need it all. We must pursue all options at both the federal and state level to ensure communities in Alaska have access to the most affordable, practical energy source available.
11. Should Congress continue President Bush's tax cuts to stimulate the economy? Explain.
If these tax cuts are lost, American tax bills will increase after 2010 as key provisions of the 2001 and 2003 tax acts expire. Among these are: the death tax, the reduced marriage penalty, the doubled child tax credit, the 10 percent bracket for low wage earners, and reduced marginal rates across all income levels. If we don't make these cuts permanent the market will remain on edge as huge tax increases loom on the horizon.
12. How important a priority is reducing the federal deficit? Explain.
Reducing the federal deficit is crucially important because we have taken out a mortgage on the government that we cannot afford, and unless something occurs, we will burden future generations due to our recklessness. The time to deal with this is now, and I am not willing to pass the buck to my children or theirs. We need to build a government we can afford and balance the federal government's checkbook.
13. Should the U.S. tax code be simplified? Is it fair?
Americans know how to spend their money more wisely than government bureaucrats. Americans find themselves losing an unreasonable chunk of their paychecks to the federal government, and continue to watch while the remainder is subject to taxes embedded in goods and services. I support the Fair Tax, which would abolish the IRS, replace the progressive tax system with a national sales tax, and end the mess that our tax code has become.
14. What should the future U.S. role in Iraq be?
The U.S. should maintain a presence in Iraq, similar to America's presence in Germany, South Korea and Japan, in order to help Iraqis continue their transition to democracy, train and advise Iraqi Security Forces and hunt Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
15. How long do you believe the U.S. occupation should continue?
We should maintain a presence in Iraq, with their support, as long as needed to establish their democracy and ensure that the country is stable.
16. Should a date be set for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq? Explain.
No. As General Petreaus said, the situation is still too volatile right now to set a final withdrawal date. Our success in Iraq has come from listening to our generals and making decisions based on the conditions on the ground. We should continue our troop draw down as Iraq becomes more stable, but that decision should be based on the conditions on the ground and the input of the generals, not for political reasons.
17. What role should Congress have in deciding the kind of military approach the U.S. uses in Iraq?
Congress' role in wartime is to make certain that our troops have the right equipment and the support they need in order to be successful while maintaining an oversight role over the military's use of the funds. Congress should not be dictating how the war is being fought, specific strategies or the number of forces needed for victory and Congress should definitely not play political games with funding for the troops.
18. Under what circumstances, if any, would you support a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons?
One of the gravest threats facing our country is the threat of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. There is a long list of reasons why Iran cannot be trusted these weapons. We must convince Iran it is in their best interests to suspend their nuclear program through diplomacy and by enforcing real sanctions. Ruling out military action would hinder our diplomatic efforts, but it should not be considered except as a final resort.
19. How good a job is the military and the Veterans Administration doing in providing ongoing care to soldiers and ex-soldiers who served in the war? What specifically would you do to improve services?
The military and the VA must do a better job taking care of our veterans, especially rural veterans. Every veteran should be eligible for mental health services, including tele-health counseling for rural veterans. Travel benefits should be increased, the VA should contract with local providers in rural areas and more community-based outpatient clinics should be built, like the Kenai clinic and the clinics I helped convince the VA to build in Mat-Su and Juneau.
20.What role do human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases play in global warming: None, some, most, or all? Explain.
I think the jury is still out on that. While not reported by certain news organizations, the real "inconvenient truth" is that there is no consensus among scientists on "catastrophic, man-made global warming." Claims to the contrary ought to be met with a careful, critical analysis of the FACTS, particularly when considering major public policy decisions based on the assumption that such a consensus actually exists.
21. What legislation currently in Congress comes closest to the policy you would advocate for dealing with climate change?
I support policies that stress adaptation, not regulation. Current proposals are based on the assumption that the U.S. can control the planet's thermostat by regulating (reducing) production and consumption of 90 percent of the energy that fuels our economy. And they're being considered at a time when we need more, affordable energy not less, more expensive energy. I have yet to see any "climate change" legislation that would NOT make energy less available and more expensive.
22. Coastal erosion is a serious issue in a number of rural Alaska villages, with discussions about relocating some communities. Do you believe this is appropriate or realistic? Explain.
Yes. These villages these Alaskans are a huge part of what makes Alaska, Alaska. It will be difficult and expensive, but with enough help from the state, it can be done. I do not support doing nothing and leaving these Alaskans and the customs and cultures they've kept alive for hundreds of years with no other option but to abandon their history and way of life and move to Anchorage and Fairbanks.
23. Is it appropriate to use the polar bear listing as a threatened species to limit oil and gas development in the Arctic or regulate distant greenhouse gas emissions? What other steps, if any, do you think government and industry should take to protect Alaska's polar bear population?
NO. There is no consensus among non-political scientists on the theory that man-made emissions are responsible for climate change. Given this fact, and the fact that we cannot accurately predict, but can only "project," based on questionable computer models, what might happen 40 years from now, the decision to list a healthy species was not only inappropriate, it was irresponsible. The Marine Mammal Protection Act already provides extensive protections.
24. What's your position on the proposed Pebble mine in southwest Alaska? How do you plan to vote on the "Clean Water" initiative on the August ballot?
I support the public process the state has laid out for the proposed mine, and I believe we must follow it. We have two important resources here, and if the science determines we can have both, we must pursue both and pursue them aggressively. If the science says it cannot be done without significant harm to the biological resource we already have, the project should not go forward.
25. Are changes needed in the way congressional earmarks work? Under what circumstances should members of Congress be allowed to direct federal spending to specific projects in their district?
Earmarks represent less than 1 percent of the overall budget. I have always fought for and will continue to request earmarks. The money I secured has gone toward infrastructure, health care, and youth programs in Alaska. In addition to voting for and following the House rules that require each earmark be attributed to a member, I took the additional step of posting on my Web site every earmark requested for 100 percent transparency.
26. What should Congress do, if anything, to help increase the supply of doctors in Alaska?
I have supported additional funding for health care professionals and even secured earmarks to help train doctors who serve in rural and underserved areas. But this is an issue the State should be addressing. For Alaskan students who choose to enter the medical profession and make a commitment to serve five years in Alaska, the state should take funds from the surplus and create a loan-forgiveness program.
27. Some major Alaska fisheries have been "rationalized." That is, individual shares have been assigned to fishermen and even to processors. Do you support this approach for more of Alaska's fisheries?
Rationalization has benefited some fisheries and fishing communities and significantly changed others. If the fishery participants support rationalization and it can be accomplished without causing harm to other fisheries or fishing communities, the fisheries ouncil should have the authority to use all of the tools in the toolbox. Each proposal should be carefully reviewed. While some rationalization plans have caused severe economic dislocation, the Community Development Quota program has proven to be very successful rationalization plan.