On the weekend before the election, incumbent U.S. Rep. Don Young stopped through Bethel to meet with local leadership and speak with KYUK.
This election season, Rep. Young has endorsed fellow Republican Mike Dunleavy for Governor. He opposes Ballot Measure 1, a measure seeking to further protect salmon tributaries, claiming that it conflicts with the Alaska Statehood Act and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.
“People say it won’t happen. I know. I’ve watched the legal opinion of people will say that if it affects a stream, even though not adversely, there can be a delaying factor with a lawsuit,” said Rep. Young.
Rep. Young did not offer an endorsement of a candidate for the Alaska House District 38 seat, saying that he doesn't have enough knowledge of the candidates and their qualifications. Rep. Young is, however, a supporter of the Donlin mine project as an economic development engine for the region.
“It’s a very valuable unit. When they do build the Donlin mine, or develop it, it’ll be energy, because we’re gonna ship gas via pipeline to the Donlin project, and it’ll be able to take and put electricity in a lot of the villages there. So why anybody would object to it, I don’t quite know why,” Rep. Young said.
Rep. Young also said that Alaska ought to be moving forward faster on hydroelectric power, and that he's still unconvinced that humans are causing climate change.
“So this is an argument that, why is it being promoted that has anybody got a solution other than not to have energy,” said Rep. Young. “If you want to live in Bethel without energy, fine. Have at it. It ain’t gonna happen. We’re not going back to burning seal oil, and burning whale oil; that’s impossible.”
Rep. Young says that he's proud to see the expansion of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation medical center.
“I helped built that hospital. It used to be yellow submarine with Gene Pelota. My daughter worked in it five years, and I believe we’ve made great progress and we can make more, but it’s a constant evolution,” Rep. Young said.
And Rep. Young thinks that concerns that newly-confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh may erode tribal jurisdiction are overblown.
“That was this thing that was put up, that was people's understanding from the media, but I don’t believe he will be and we’ll just have to see what happens. That’s past now. He’s in [there] seated; he will be there and people have to recognize. I do believe he’ll be a good judge,” said Rep. Young.
Rep. Young will be taking on Independent Alyse Galvin in Tuesday’s midterm election. She is challenging him for a seat that he has represented Alaska in for the past 45 years.