Thursday, August 22, 2013

Better know a politician: Don Young

Name: Don Young

Position: Member of Congress

District: Alaska's At-Large District

Political Advisor: Republican

Previous position: Alaska House of Representatives (1967-1971)
Alaska Senate (1971-1973)

Tenure: 1973-present

Future position: Due to Young's age and consistent re-election, he is quite unlikely to run for Senate or for any other position. Young is 80 years old. It's not even for certain that Young will run for re-election in 2014.

Previous election: Don Young: 64% Sharon Cissna (D): 29%

Next election: House, November 2014

Polling numbers:
Public Policy Polling 07/25-07/28

47% approve, 43% disapprove

Don Young 56% Matt Moore 28%

Leadership: Committee on Natural Resources
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Fundraising, 2014 cycle, source: OpenSecrets

Raised: $125,018
Spent: $116,352
Cash on hand: $516,966

Top Contributors, source: OpenSecrets:

  1. Edison Chouest Offshore: $20,000
  2. Carpenters & Joiners Union: $5,000
  3. Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union: $5,000
  4. Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians: $5,000

Recent elections:
2012: Don Young: 64% Sharon Cissna (D): 29%
2010: Don Young: 69% Harry Crawford: 31%
2008: Don Young: 50% Ethan Berkowitz: 45%
2006: Don Young: 57% Diane Benson: 40%
2004: Don Young: 71% Thomas Higgins: 22%
2002: Don Young: 75% Clifford Greene: 17%

Scandal?: Young was investigated in 2007 for taking bribes from VECO Corporation.  This happened after VECO executives pleaded guilty to bribing Alaska state legislators.  In August of 2010, the FBI closed its investigation and the findings were forwarded to the Ethics Committee.  They reported no findings.

The House Ethics Committee announced, in 2013, that they created a special committee to investigate allegations that Young had improperly received gifts.  The investigation is ongoing.

On March 28, 2013 Young used the racial slur "wetback" when referring to Latinos.  He later apologized saying that it was insensitive. 


Abortion. Rep. Young is adamantly pro-life. He voted to ban federal health coverage that would cover abortion. He has voted against stem cell research. He has also been critical of service providers, such as, Planned Parenthood, and has asked to stop federally funding Planned Parenthood. He would like no federal funding to go to family assistance that includes abortion. He received an 80% rating from the NRLC, indicating a pro-life stance.

Animal Rights/Welfare. He received a 13% rating from the Humane Society, which indicates an anti-animal welfare voting record.

Budget/Economy. Young does not think that we should cut defense spending in order to balance the budget. He has stated that a well-funded and well-equipped military is the best deterrent against those who are opposed to freedom. In the 112th Congress, he voted to support H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2012 which would authorize a pay raise for soldiers and service members.

He signed on to a questionnaire that stated he would support making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent. He is an official signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, he did support Americans for Tax Reform 90% of the time. He has staed that he would oppose any and all tax increases on any tax bracket.

While Young did support the bailout of the car companies, he did not support the $825 billion for the economic recovery. He did support a $60 billion stimulus package and a $192 billion anti-recession stimulus spending.

He has also been supportive of the balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. He has been a vocal supporter of the balanced budget amendment and will likely continue to support the amendnment whenever it comes up.

Civil rights. Young received a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, which indicates an anti-gay rights record. In order to receive this rating, it seems deserved, he voted against prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity. He has not been a supporter of H.R. 1755, the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. He has voted for a Constitutional Amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman and has voted for a Constitutional Amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. Despite this, he has not, as of yet, been a co-sponsor of H.J. Res. 51. In 1999, he voted to ban adoptions of gay couples in Washington, D.C. He has also voted against enforcing anti-gay hate crimes.

Young voted no on ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions. He has received a 31% rating by the NAACP which indicates an anti-affirmative action stance.

He was given an 8% rating by the American Civil Liberties Union, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record.

He has voted against making the PATRIOT Act permanent. He also voted against allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant. He has voted against PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011, which would have extended certain provisions of the PATRIOT Act.

He has voted to protect the Pledge of Allegiance and has voted to support the Constitutional Amendment that would prohibit flag burning.

Corporations. He has voted multiple times against letting shareholders vote for the compensation of executives. He received a 93% rating from the United States Chamber of Commerce indicating a pro-business voting record.

Drugs. He did vote against subjecting federal employees to random drug tests. He has since been rated -25 by NORML indicating a hard-on-drugs stance.

Education. He has shown support for federal funding for universal pre-K programs which is of particular interest, since Barack Obama announced that in his State of the Union address. He has stated that he would increase federal funding for education. He also introduced H.R. 4837, the No Child Left Behind Improvements Act, which would try to address the unintended consequences of No Child Left Behind.

He does support a Constitutional amendment that would protect school prayer. He did vote against giving $84 million in grants for black and hispanic colleges. He has voted to allow for school vouchers and has voted to require states to test students and teachers.

Energy/Environment. Young has not been an ally of the environment or for clean energy. He has boted for opening up the continental shelf for oil drilling. He was in favor of the Bush-Cheney energy policy. Despite voting against tax incentives for renewable energy, tax credits for renewable electricity, and tax incentives for energy production and conservation he does support extending through 2016 the renewable energy tax credit. He has also voted against investing in homegrown biofuel. He has also voted to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

He has consistently voted against allowing the EPA regulating greenhouse gases. He also voted to block the implementation of the Kyoto protocol. Despite being a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, he received a 0% rating of the League of Conservation Voters.

Foreign Policy. He has a strong commitment to an unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel. He has tried to withhold funding for the United Nations unless he receives specific plans. He voted against allowing travel to Cuba until political prisoners are released. He has received a -1 rating from the American Arab Institute which indicates that he has a mixed Arab-Palestine record.

He believes in strong sanctions on Iran to end their nuclear program. He wants to continue a boycott and sanctions against Iran until the nuclear program has ended.

He voted for the deployment of troops to Iraq and voted to include Iraq on the war on terror, to invade Iraq with no exit date. He voted against investigating George W. Bush for lying about Iraq.

Free Trade

Young has supported most free trade agreements, but he does not support the free trade agreement with Chile and Singapore. He has voted for withdrawing from the World Trade Organization.

Gun control

The NRA gave Young an A+ grade indicating a pro-gun rights record. He did vote for the concealed-carry reciprocity act. He would like to loosen restrictions on interstate gun purchases. He has been a supporter of allowing firearms in national parks. He also believes that we should recognize the individual rights to self-defense at home.

Health care

Young did vote for extending the Children's Health Insurance Program so that more children could be covered. He voted yes on the Paul Ryan budget which would affect how Medicare and Social Security would be paid for. Young has not been supportive of the Affordable Care Act. He does not believe that the government should administer a national health insurance plan. He has voted multiple times to repeal Obamacare.


Young holds contradictory views on immigration. He does not support amnesty for undocumentd immigrants. He believes that the pathway to citizenship for legal immigrants should be shorter and more efficient but he does not believe in providing incentives for undocumented immigrants. He believes we need to enforce our immigration laws but he voted no on building a fence along the Mexican border.


He voted on increasing the minimum wage to $7.25. He also voted to restrict employer interference in union organizing. Despite this, he received a 21% rating from the AFL-CIO which indicates that he has an anti-union voting record.


He has voted to maintain the work requirement for welfare recipients.

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