President Biden on Saturday honored the late Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, who died Friday – with Biden describing the lawmaker as a consensus builder whose legacy will continue “in the America he loved.”
“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 in a statement.
REP. DON YOUNG, ALASKA REPUBLICAN, DEAD AT 88
“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,” he said.
Young, the longest-serving member of the House, died Friday night at Los Angeles International Airport while he was on his way home. He was 88. Young, a California native, had served in Congress since winning a special election in 1973.
“It’s with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we announce Congressman Don Young, 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 loved,” a statement from Young’s office said. “His beloved wife Ann was by his side.”
Young was currently serving out his 25th term and was running for a 26th. Along with his wife Anne, Young leaves behind two children.
He was the dean of the House, the most senior member of either party, and he was the last active House member who was elected in the 1970s.
Young also served as a tugboat captain and trapper. He famously wielded the pubic bone of a walrus on the House floor during debate once. Young also pulled a knife and held it against the throat of former Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, before Boehner became speaker.
Biden, in his tribute, said that there was “no doubt that few legislators have left a greater mark on their state” and sent his prayers to Young’s family as well as the people of Alaska.
“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,” he said. “His legacy will continue in the America he loved.”
Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller, Kyle Morris and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.