Alaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history

Alaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history

Dean of the House Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungRepublicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems release first transcripts from impeachment probe witnesses GOP lawmaker head-butts MoveOn camera MORE (R-Alaska) officially became the longest-serving Republican in House history on Thursday.

Young, 85, surpassed former Speaker Joe Cannon’s (R-Ill) record.

Top lawmakers on both sides of the aisle took to the floor to congratulate Young, who first entered Congress after a special election victory in 1973.


Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public Schiff huddles in Capitol with impeachment managers Media's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle MORE (D-Calif.) applauded Young for his dedication to serving the state of Alaska and fighting for its priorities.

“Is he — is that a blushing Don Young that we see behind the beard there? On behalf of the entire house, Mr. Speaker, I congratulate Congressman Young on this honor and on your 46 years of proud service on behalf of the people of Alaska,” she said.

“Despite the length of time, every single day he serves here, it is clear that Don is passionate about his patriotism and about working in this institution to make a difference for America,” she said.

After lauding his accomplishments, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCalifornia sues Trump administration over fracking Trump: Impeachment timing intended to hurt Sanders Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (R-Calif.) joked about Young’s brusque demeanor and the reputation he’s gained for being a straight shooter in Congress.  

“They lied to me during freshman orientation. They told me nobody has an assigned seat in this House. That's how I got to know Don Young,” he said. “I made the mistake of coming in and sitting down right over by that door. I also learned another valuable lesson: Don keeps a knife.”

Young's career has had no shortage of eccentric incidents and lawmakers were quick to highlight some of his more colorful moments. One of the Alaska lawmaker's infamous moments entailed holding a knife to former Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerA time for war, a time for peace — and always a time to defend America Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Soleimani killing deepens distrust between Trump, Democrats MORE's throat while debating earmarks. BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerA time for war, a time for peace — and always a time to defend America Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Soleimani killing deepens distrust between Trump, Democrats MORE went on to be the best man in his wedding. 


House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives Khanna: Timing of Iran bill being weighed against getting bigger majority MORE (D-Md.) said both Young and former Rep. John DingellJohn DingellTrump suggests LBJ is in hell: 'He's probably looking down — or looking up' Change with minimal risk: Trump's Jimmy Carter problem 10 controversies that rocked the Trump White House in 2019 MORE (D-Mich.), the recently deceased former congressman holds the record as longest-serving member in House, exemplified similar admirable qualities in demonstrating the ability to fight for their beliefs while still being willing to work across the aisle when necessary.

“All of us have benefited, I think, from your honesty, your recognition of how the House ought to work, and, yes, your regular order. Which you demanded and didn't always get,” he said.

Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTrump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' Republicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment trial a week away; debate night MORE (R-La.) praised Young for his enthusiasm for his job and passion for the institution.

“As we celebrate this great achievement, I think as we all know he comes and sits in that same spot, and he yells order, and he yells a few other things, and pushes us all to do our job in a much more efficient way,” he said.  “But how fitting is it that the United States’s largest state has such a larger than life personality as its representative. Congratulation, Don.”

After thanking members for their kind remarks, Young said traveling to his colleagues' districts and learning about the communities they represent has been one of the highlights of his career. The Alaska Republican pointed to his friendship with Dingell as an example of how members can learn to respect and value the opinions of those they don’t always agree with.

“We had one thing in common, he respected my beliefs and I respected his. And I'd say, ‘John, this is the right thing to do.’ And he would do it. I think a lot of us here today have to learn that and quit watching the media,” he said on the floor.

“That person that represents that district, listen to what they have to say and support them. That makes this House work,” he said.