Longtime Alaska Rep. and Fisheries Advocate Don Young to Lie in State at U.S. Capitol

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska
Former Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. Image: U.S. House of Representatives.

Former Alaska Rep. Don Young, who spent much of his political career advocating for his state’s commercial fisheries, will lie in state in National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol on Tuesday, March 29, according to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Young, who was re-elected to the 117th Congress in 2020 to serve his 25th term as Alaska’s only member of the United States House of Representatives, died Friday, March 18 aboard a commercial flight from Los Angeles to Seattle after he fell unconscious and could not be revived.

First sworn in as a freshman to the 93rd Congress after winning a special election on March 6, 1973, Young became Dean of the House – the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives – in 2017.

“For five decades, he was an institution in the hallowed halls of Congress: a serious legislator always bringing people together to do the people’s work,” Pelosi said. “The photographs of him with 10 presidents of both parties who signed his bills into law that proudly cover the walls of his Rayburn office are a testament to his longevity and his legislative mastery.”

A formal ceremony will be held Tuesday morning with the Young family, which will be open to invited guests. Following the memorial service, a viewing open only to members of Congress is scheduled. Young’s office said that additional details would be announced at a later date.

“Congressman Don Young was a champion of Alaska fisheries,” the National Fisheries Institute said in a March 21 statement. “A co-author, stalwart supporter, and defender of the Magnuson Stevens Act—his commitment to fisheries management was acclaimed far from just the bountiful waters of the state he represented.”

Also on March 21, Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson announced a proposal to rename Anchorage’s port “Don Young Port of Alaska.”

“As chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee he was instrumental in bringing federal dollars to the Port of Alaska,” Bronson said of Young. “His tireless work for Alaska over the last 49 years has made a tremendous impact across generations for the Port of Alaska, which provides food and supplies for 90% of the state,” he said. “I am asking for the Anchorage Assembly to join me in honoring Congressman Young in recognition for all that he did for the municipality.”