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Congressman Young's Alaska Report: August 27, 2014

U.S. Congressman Don Young

Congressman Young Shares Message with Alaskans 

This month, I have been very fortunate to spend time with Alaskans from across the state to discuss the many issues and concerns currently facing this great nation. Our conversations have transcended party line and affiliation and have dug deep into the vision we see for this country and the path it’s currently on. Over and over again, I have heard the same message; Alaskans are tired of overbearing and out of touch federal policies that continue to eat away at our local economies, jeopardize our many industries, and threaten our Alaskan way of life.

It is through these interactions and conversations that I bring great knowledge and understanding back to Washington, D.C. to stand up and forcefully defend our state from attacks. My commitment to you, as your sole representative in the House, remains strong as I focus on getting people back to work, spurring economic growth, and getting government out of the way.

I look forward to working with you as we address our nation’s many problems.

 


Kodiak residents and Congressman Young at a recent constituent lunch at King's Diner.


Addressing our Border Security

One issue that has consistently come up throughout Alaska is the ongoing situation on our nation’s Southern border and the influx of unaccompanied minors. While there is no easy way around this issue, we must remember: we are a nation of laws and we must work to enforce them. 

A perfect storm of failed policy decisions and executive overreach led us to this growing crisis and a well–intentioned anti-trafficking law enacted in 2008 handcuffed our border security personnel. An ill-conceived executive order by President Obama in 2012 has drawn undocumented children to our borders in hopes that they will not be sent home. And a severely backlogged immigration court has prevented swift asylum hearings and deportations when appropriate.

While this Administration has requested an additional $3.7 billion from Congress and the American people, I believe spending billions in taxpayer dollars without addressing the problem is bad governance.

Thankfully the House has chosen to take a different approach by passing legislation to curtail the influx of an estimated 57,000 unaccompanied minors at our border and deal with the underlying problems of this crisis.

For more information about the growing border crisis click here.
 

Keeping our Nation’s Promise to Our Veterans

With more veterans per capita than any other state – more than 76,000 – Alaskans truly understand the importance of keeping this nation’s promise to those who have served.

As a veteran myself, I shared the outrage of countless Americans following reports of negligence and incompetence in VA hospitals across the country that led to the preventable death and mistreatment of our veterans. These men and women in uniform gave so much in defense of freedom, and I continue to work to ensure these types of disastrous failures never occur again and those responsible are held accountable.

 


Congressman Young meeting with WWII veterans in Washington, D.C. as part of the Last Frontier Honor Flight. Click here to watch a video of their visit.

Earlier this summer, Congress made significant overhauls to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which was plagued by outdated policies, bureaucratic roadblocks, and significant accountability failures.

Through a bipartisan effort, the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014, Congress worked to improve access to care through the use of non-VA facilities – something the Alaska Delegation spearheaded for Alaska Native veterans years ago – and increased accountability by allowing the VA to fire incompetent employees.

While this package is not a solution to all of the VA’s problems – no single piece of legislation can be – it is a significant step in the right direction.

I have always said we must do everything necessary to keep the promise this country made to those who have served. My hope is that this law will begin the process of slashing wait times, improving medical care, and restoring trust and transparency with our nation’s veterans.

For more information click here.


Holding the President Accountable

This President has time and time again chosen to operate alone and make policy decisions based entirely on political motivation, rather than the will of the American people and Congress. No matter who sits in the White House, this blatant disregard for the law and separation of powers is unacceptable. 

In order to hold the President, cabinet members, and Executive Branch employees accountable for their failures to uphold their Constitutional duties of enforcing enacted laws as written, the House has passed a resolution to empower the Speaker to initiate one or more civil lawsuits against the Executive Branch.

The President took an oath to defend the Constitution, including the clause to faithfully execute our laws, and I believe it’s time our President kept his word.

For more information, please click here.

 

Air Force Names Eielson AFB Preferred Location for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

After months of waiting and speculation, the United States Air Force has officially selected Eielson Air Force Base as the preferred location for two squadrons of F-35A fighters, which is fantastic news for Eielson, North Pole, Fairbanks, and the state of Alaska.

In Alaska, it's always been about the mission.  From the interceptors at Ft. Greely to the combat-coded F-22s at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), the U.S. military truly understands Alaska’s strategic position. I am pleased to see that the Air Force continues to recognize Alaska’s role by placing the world's most premiere fighter aircraft at Eielson.

 


Days before the preferred basing decision, Congressman Young joined Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins to sign posters in support of stationing the F-35 at Eielson AFB. Click here to watch a video of Congressman Young immediately following the F-35 announcement.

This has certainly been a labor of love for me and the many individuals who fought to bring the F-35 to Alaska. In this year's defense reauthorization I worked to secure important language that let the Air Force know Congress was behind the decision to station the F-35 at Eielson AFB. Not only was I pleased that they listened, but more importantly that they understood how crucial Eielson is to this nation’s safety and security.

As we all know, today's world is littered with threats, especially in the Pacific region. I believe that the presence of the F-35 in Alaska, in addition to the existing F-22s, will send a powerful message to our adversaries that the U.S. intends to make the Pacific and Arctic a priority.


For his work on the crucial F-35 amendment, which identified Eielson AFB as the only location for the fighter, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly and Mayor Luke Hopkins honored Congressman Young with a resolution thanking him for his work. To view the FNSB resolution, please click here.


Alaska Celebrates Tanana River Crossing Completion

This month, we celebrated the completion of the 3300 ft. long Tanana River Crossing, the state's longest bridge. This critical piece of infrastructure will work to address the needs of Alaskans and our military by providing increased access to land and world renowned military training grounds, in addition to beginning the northern expansion of our railroad. 


Congressman Young at the Tanana River Crossing Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (Click here to watch his remarks).

Projects like the Tanana Bridge, which finished under budget and on time, are a true testament to the hardworking men and women of Alaska. We must also recognize the individual who made this ribbon cutting possible in the first place, Senator Ted Stevens, who secured the federal funding for the project.

When everybody works together, we can achieve great things!


Congressman Young with former Governor Bill Sheffield and members of the U.S. Army on the Tanana River Crossing.


Huna Tlingit Gull Egg Use Act Becomes Law

Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve been very fortunate to gather support behind a number of bipartisan efforts to protect the rights of Alaskans and Americans and ensure that our federal government does not stand in the way of our social and economic well-being.

Last month, the President signed H.R. 3110, Huna Tlingit Traditional Gull Egg Use Act, into law; legislation I introduced to resolve a longstanding concern for the Huna Tlingit people and once again allow members of the Hoonah Indian Association to harvest gull eggs in Glacier Bay National Park.

As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, I introduced and passed H.R. 3110 in the House in order to protect the traditional way of life for Alaska’s First People. For the Huna Tlingit people, this traditional gull egg harvest is a significant part of their culture that took place well before the establishment of the Glacier Bay National Park and it’s truly unfortunate that it took this long to allow the practice to resume.

I must thank both the Huna Tlingit people and Senator Lisa Murkowski for their years of persistence and dedication to support this bill through the difficult legislative process, and correct this wrong made more than 50 years ago.

For more information click here.

IN THE NEWS

Your Alaska Link: U.S. Congressman Don Young Visits Children's Lunchbox Location

Juneau Empire: Thank You For Your Support of the National Guard

Alaska Journal of Commerce: Air Force Names Eielson as Preferred Location for F-35s

Alaska Dispatch: Alaska’s Longest Bridge Completed Across Tanana River

Associated Press: Lawmakers Skeptical of Coast Guard’s Desire To Build New Icebreaker

Petroleum News: TAPS hits 17 billion barrels as production declines continue

FDNM: Native leader Don Wright remembered as a man of action

KTOO: Gull-egg harvest gets boost from Congress

KNOM: For now, funding safe for federal agency serving rural Alaska

KDLG: EPA Can't Garnish Wages, Young Says

KTUU: Alaska Lawmakers Welcome Papp, Ulmer to Arctic Policy Posts

KDLG: Young Blocks Attempts to Defund Denali Commission

APRN: U.S. House Passes Bill To Open NPR-A

KDLG: Young Pushes Back Against Obama's Motion to Expand Marine National Monument

KTUU: State Seeks to Intervene in King Cove Lawsuit

 

   

Alaska Teen Receives Congressional Award Bronze Medal

Tess Hopkins, an Eagle River High School student, received the Congressional Award Bronze Medal from Congressman Young this month for her achievements in four core areas: public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition. 


Congressman Young awarding Tess Hopkins with the Congressional Award Bronze Medal in Anchorage.

This award was established by Congress through a public private partnership to empower young people to take greater responsibility for their own lives, discover new talents, advocate on behalf of others, and take positive action in their community.

For more information about the Congressional Award, which is open to all young people age 14 to 23, please click here. 

Standing Up for Alaska

Earlier this summer, Congressman Young led a bipartisan coalition to defeat an amendment in the House of Representatives that would have stripped away all funding for the Denali Commission in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2015.

To ensure the future and success of this small independent federal agency, which is making dramatic progress in the nation’s least developed areas (including more than 240 Alaska Native Villages and over 100 Alaskan communities), Congressman Young gave an impassioned speech on the House floor and gathered support from across the country to protect the Denali Commission.


Congressman Young fights for the future of the Denali Commission on the House Floor (Click here to watch).


Washington, D.C. Internship Program

 


Interns, staff, and Congressman Young gather to celebrate Alaska Flag Day.

Congressman Young is always seeking bright and energetic Alaskans to intern in his Washington, D.C. office. 

Interns will help Congressman Young with general office duties, in addition to assisting staff with legislation, research, and constituent services. Interns are also always encouraged to attend hearings, briefings, and other Congressional proceedings to gain exposure to the inner workings of Washington, D.C. and gain invaluable knowledge in the legislative process.

For more information, please click here.


Women in Mining Congressional Roundtable


Congressman Young joined more than 25 women in the Alaska mining industry for the Women in Mining Congressional Roundtable in Fairbanks, AK. Brought together by the Alaska Miners Association, industry representatives gathered from across the state to discuss the many federal policies standing in the way of responsible resource development. 


Coast Guard Foundation Alaska Awards Dinner


Congressman Young was honored to attend the United States Coast Guard Foundation Dinner in Anchorage to celebrate the heroism of our Coast Guard crews, who work day in and day out to protect our freedoms and defend our shores. The Coast Guard Foundation has worked for more than 40 years to provide our Guardians with the support and relief they deserve. Semper Paratus!


‘HUGSS & Coats’ For Kids Project


Congressman Young attended the ‘HUGSS (Helping Us Give School Supplies) & Coats’ for Kids Project at the Sullivan Arena on August 13th. This project works to help children and families of low-income households prepare for the school year. Special recognition to the many volunteers that made this day possible, as well as Catholic Social Services and the corporate sponsors that donated thousands in school supplies, backpacks, and coats.


Congressman Young Talks Transportation

The Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee, industry representatives, and concerned citizens joined Congressman Young in Fairbanks to discuss the future of transportation development in Alaska and across the country.

As a senior member and former Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Congressman Young has worked tirelessly to ensure that transportation needs of Alaskans, including aviation, road, rail and our marine highway system, are reflected and fought for in Congress. 
 

Congressman Young in Alaska


Jamie Schwartzwald of Fairbanks Channel 13 sat down with Congressman Young to discuss a number of critical Alaskan issues (Click here to watch).

 


Congressman Young meeting with Mt. Edgecumbe High School student, Anthony Collin Lekanof, to discuss the Alaska Association of Student Governments.

 


Congressman Young addressing the Alaska Native Health Board Mega Meeting in Anchorage. 

 


Congressman Young visiting the Childrens' Lunchbox, a Beans Café program that helps feed needy children in the Anchorage area. Congressman Young recently introduced legislation to fight child hunger by expanding access to summer meals and snacks across the country. Click here to watch a video of his visit.

 

ICYMI: Washington Post - "The United States needs to turn its attention to the Arctic Ocean"

Our nation must quickly step up to the plate to address the growing needs of the Arctic, including in areas of resource development, shipping, tourism, and Alaska Native priorities.

This month, Congressman Young announced the creation of the Congressional Arctic Working Group in an op-ed printed in the Washington Post. The bipartisan working group, which will focus on bringing together stakeholders from across Native, environmental, oil and gas, mining, national security, and navigation communities to advise Congress about the opportunities and challenges facing the United States as an Arctic nation, will also work to ensure the nation begins securing its strategic and economic interests in the region.

Click here to read the Washington Post op-ed.

 

 

CONNECT

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