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Term 21: Alaska's Don Young movin' on up seniority ladder in Congress

  • Author: Laurel Andrews
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published January 3, 2013

Rep. Don Young was sworn into office for his 21st term as Alaska's sole representative in the U.S. House on Thursday, becoming fifth on the seniority list among 435 Representatives.

"I believe it is time to hit the reset button in Washington ... I look forward to working toward fixing the extreme partisanship that has hung over us these past few years, because we are all in this together," Young said in a press release. "My priorities this Congress are to solve the out-of-control spending problem that is bankrupting this country, cut the bureaucratic red tape that has a stranglehold on economic growth, and work to continue moving America toward true energy independence."

Young, who turned 79 this June, has lived in Alaska since 1959. After Alaska congressman Democrat Nick Begich — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich's father -- disappeared in a plane crash on Oct. 16, 1972, Young won a special election in 1973, and then began a full term a year later, making him the longest-serving living Alaska politician serving in Washington, D.C.

Young, who was elected mayor of his hometown of Fort Yukon in 1964, begins this session of Congress the second-highest ranking Republican after Florida's C.W. Bill Young, who has served for 22 consecutive terms, since Jan. 3, 1971. The most- senior member of the House is Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, who has been serving since Dec. 13, 1955. That's 30 consecutive terms.

As a senior House member, Young has secured gobs of money for Alaska over the years. Most recently, he is credited with saving the Alaska Railroad from major funding cuts last summer.

In his next term, Young will remain Chairman of the Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee as well as a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He will also retain his leadership position on the Republican Policy Committee.

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