U.S. Congressman Don Young took the opportunity to visit the Kenai Peninsula during the Memorial Day recess and during Wednesday's Kenai Chamber luncheon told those assembled that transportation is the nations number one problem.
Young is presently the Chairman of the largest standing committee in the House of Representatives, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He admits that while it's not the first concern that comes to the minds of most Americans given the myriad of other issues taking center stage in the media, "You don't hear much about it, but the reality is that all other programs feed off a good transportation system. I'm very enthused about improving our nations transportation system as well as here in Alaska," said Young. The 30 year veteran of Congress says his job is more pleasant with a Republican President in the White House and his former colleague in Alaska's governor's mansion, but not any easier, "We have a lot of challenges now to accomplish things and we don't have any excuses, so we are trying and working very hard to accomplish our agenda for Alaska," said Young.
Young is convinced that he will be able to finish the job and anticipates new projects in Alaskan transportation such as a Knik crossing, road improvements, and even new roads in Southeastern Alaska. As far as an Alaskan Gas line and the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Young says, "We passed ANWR in the House four times, Clinton vetoed it one time, but right now because of Senate Rules, to get the 60 votes is nearly impossible, but we'll go back at it and I've said I'm not leaving this job until it gets done, so the way for them to get rid of me is to open ANWR. Right now the main thing is working on an Alaskan gas line and I'm committed to that, but I'm sure we'll get ANWR opened eventually. My agenda is to continue to think about the future and be sure we leave something for the future. That takes the Alaskan can-do spirit," said Young.
While Young has been Alaska's only congressman for thirty years, he confesses that Alaska really has two members of congress, "Alaskans are very lucky, we really have two congressmen that are committed to serving the state, we have congressmen Young and congressman Lou, and congressman Lou is the boss," said Young of his wife and teammate for more than 40 years. December 29th Lou Young had a health incident that has taken most of her eyesight, but according to the congressman she has returned to good health and spirits and was with him most every day, although she missed the Kenai trip for a chance to visit her grandchildren.
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