Alaska Legislature

Governor’s bill would rename Fairbanks airport after Don Young

JUNEAU — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Wednesday introduced a bill to rename Fairbanks International Airport after the late-Rep. Don Young, the longest serving Republican congressman in U.S. history.

Since the 88-year-old congressman died in 2022, the Port of Alaska has been renamed in his honor, along with a volcano in the Aleutian Islands. The Legislature established June 9 as Don Young Day through legislation in 2023.

Dunleavy said it would be a significant tribute to rename the airport as the Don Young Fairbanks International Airport because of his decades of service in Congress and the Legislature.

“The renaming of the Fairbanks International Airport is a fitting tribute to a man who championed the importance of Alaska’s transportation infrastructure and whose advocacy is benefiting Alaskans and visitors every day,” Dunleavy said through a prepared statement.

There have been attempts in the past to rename the Fairbanks airport that have elicited passionate debates from local residents.

Republican Rep. Will Stapp and Democrat Sen. Scott Kawasaki — both of Fairbanks — said they would like to hear from their constituents before supporting a name change for the airport.

“I’d like to get some local consensus to see if that’s the way they would like to go,” Kawasaki said. “That’s typically how we do naming of buildings.”


A citizen naming panel recommended renaming the Port of Alaska after Young in December. The Anchorage Assembly initially rejected the idea, but after a monthslong back-and-forth, Assembly members ultimately reversed course and approved the name change earlier in the month.

Sean Maguire

Sean Maguire is a politics and general assignment reporter for the Anchorage Daily News based in Juneau. He previously reported from Juneau for Alaska's News Source. Contact him at