Alaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history

Alaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history

Dean of the House Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungTulsi Gabbard, Don Young introduce marijuana reform bill Alaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race 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.

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Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump's intraparty feuds divide Republicans House leaders need to modernize Congress for the sake of America 4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality: poll 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 McCarthyHouse leaders need to modernize Congress for the sake of America Overnight Energy: McConnell tees up vote on Green New Deal | Centrist Dems pitch alternative to plan | House Republican likens Green New Deal to genocide | Coca-Cola reveals it uses 3M tons of plastic every year House GOP lawmaker says Green New Deal is like genocide 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 BoehnerBoehner says it's Democrats' turn for a Tea Party movement House Republicans find silver lining in minority Alaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history MORE's throat while debating earmarks. BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner says it's Democrats' turn for a Tea Party movement House Republicans find silver lining in minority Alaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history MORE went on to be the best man in his wedding. 

 

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton Hoyer4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality: poll Hillicon Valley: Social media faces scrutiny after New Zealand attacks | YouTube removed 'tens of thousands' of shooting videos | DHS chief warns of state-backed cyber threats | House Dems plan April vote on net neutrality House to take up gender pay gap, Violence Against Women Act MORE (D-Md.) said both Young and former Rep. John DingellJohn DingellAlaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history The Hill's 12:30 Report: Cohen back on the hot seat Cummings shows how oversight should be done - and that's bad news for Trump 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 keeps tight grip on GOP GOP lawmakers: House leaders already jockeying for leadership contests House Republicans find silver lining in minority 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.