Congressman Don Young called on Juneau Republicans to support legislative funding for John Sturgeon’s legal fight over operating a hovercraft in a national preserve.
Young also says that while he’s running for re-election, when the time comes for a successor, Alaskans should choose someone who’s young.
Young told the Capital City Republicans Monday that it takes decades to build up seniority and effectiveness – Young is 83.
“Now, that’s something I want you to keep in mind. If you replace me someday, please get a younger person. Not that I have anything against mature citizens; I want you to know that,” he said. “Just because you have to have someone that serves in the House for more than 25 years. And that’s a big dedication.”
Young says Congress is less effective than it once was. He says that’s because committee chairs have lost power.
“When I was chairman of Transportation, I ran the Congress. Now I’m not braggin’ now, but I had 75 votes. I had Democrat votes, and I had Republican votes. They were loyal to the committee,” he said. “And if the chairman – if the speaker got frisky, and said you can’t do this, you can’t do that. I said, you watch me.”
Young used colorful language during his speech. He’s a former teacher, and he endorsed corporal punishment and criticized laws that prevent 15-year-olds from working.
“A lot of what we do is incorrectly, as far as education goes. It’s requirements of the federal government to get the federal dollar,” he said. “We’re hooked on this sugar tit, is really what it is. And we’re not educating our students. I will tell you. I don’t think I could teach today, because I can’t thump somebody.”
Young encouraged the audience to support state funding to back Sturgeon’s lawsuit. The U.S. Supreme Court recently handed Sturgeon a partial victory and sent his case back to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Young predicted that the federal appeals court won’t change its opinion, and the case will return to the Supreme Court.
Young is scheduled to speak today at the Tlingit Haida Central Council Native Issues Forum in Juneau.