President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Saturday mourned the passing of Don Young, an Alaska Republican and the longest-serving member of the current U.S. Congress, saying that he was ‘tough’, ‘loyal’, ‘larger than life’, and ‘a consensus builder.’ Young passed away on Friday at the age of 88.
“I knew Don Young for a long time. He always stayed true to who he was and the people of Alaska he represented. Tough. Loyal. A consensus builder,” President Biden wrote in a statement. “He was larger than life, but always focused on Alaskans’ everyday lives. As Dean of the House, he was the longest-serving House Republican in history—but cherished photos of his legislation being signed into law by ten presidents, Republicans and Democrats.”
President Biden added, “There is no doubt that few legislators have left a greater mark on their state. Don’s legacy lives on in the infrastructure projects he delighted in steering across Alaska. In the opportunities he advanced for his constituents. In the enhanced protections for Native tribes he championed. His legacy will continue in the America he loved. Jill and I send our prayers to his wife Anne, to his daughters and the entire Young family, and to the people of Alaska. May God bless Don Young.”
Young was reelected in 2020 to his 25th term as the only representative from Alaska. He was the dean of the U.S. House of Representatives, a symbolic position given to the longest-serving member of the chamber.
His office announced his passing on Friday, remembering him as a “fierce defender of Alaska.”
“It’s with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we announced Congressman Don Young (R-AK), the Dean of the House and revered champion for Alaska, passed away today while traveling home to Alaska to be with the state and people that he love,” his office said in a statement. “His beloved wife Anne was by his side.”