Biden pays respects to late Rep. Don Young

Biden pays respects to late Rep Don Young

President Biden dropped by the Capitol Tuesday to honor the late Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) — the longest-serving Republican in congressional history.

Young, 88, died March 18 after more than 49 years as The Last Frontier’s sole member in the House of Representatives.

Biden made the sign of the cross before approaching Young’s flag-draped coffin in the Capitol Rotunda and laying his hands on it.

Young took office in March 1973 — two months after Biden was sworn in as a senator from Delaware — after winning a special election. He was re-elected 24 times.

The president, who turns 80 this year, did not deliver remarks at the Capitol but praised Young in a statement after his death.

“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,” Biden said.

“There is no doubt that few legislators have left a greater mark on their state,” the president added. “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.”

President Joe Biden during a ceremony for late Representative Don Young in Statuary Hall.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Don Young
Former Rep. Don Young took office in March 1973.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag
Biden made the sign of the cross before approaching Young’s coffin.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Joe Biden
No remarks were given from President Biden.
Getty Images
Joe Biden
Young died on Mar. 18, 2022.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

Young moved to Alaska in 1959 — the same year it became a state — after growing up in California and then serving in the Army. He was known for supporting policies popular in his state, sometimes bucking the majority stance of national Republicans.

Young was one of 13 House Republicans to support Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill last year and was an early advocate for federal marijuana reform after his state’s voters chose to legalize the drug in 2014.

At the Capitol, the Alaska rep was known for his sense of humor and his distinct office decor, which featured a large bear skin on a wall and many stuffed animal heads and antlers.

Of Congress, he once remarked, “Well, this is the dumbest zoo I’ve ever been in. And I’ve been to a lot of zoos in my life.”

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