Pelosi Floor Remarks Congratulating Congressman Don Young on Becoming Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of U.S. House of Representatives to honor Congressman Don Young, who ascends to the position of Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives following nearly 45 years of service on behalf of the people of Alaska.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi.  I rise to join our distinguished Speaker in honoring Congressman Don Young who ascends to the position of Dean of the U.S. House Of Representatives following nearly 45 years of proud service on behalf of the people of Alaska.  Congressman Young also holds the distinction of serving as the first Dean of the House from the Republican party in 80 years.  Congratulations.

On behalf of the Democratic Caucus, let me extend my congratulations to Don, to his wife, Anne, and his entire family.  Despite our differences, it is clear that Don cares deeply about our nation.  Don serves because, in his words, he’s ‘enthusiastic about

meeting people and trying to solve their problems.’  As a former teacher, he’s an advocate for quality education for all.  As a former U.S. Army tank operator, he believes in ensuring that service members, families and veterans have the care they have earned.  And in honor of his late, beloved wife Lu Young, he’s been a champion for the native children of Alaska.

Thank you, Dean.

The motto, my colleagues, of the state of Alaska is, ‘North to the future.’  In his commitment to progress and better futures for the people of Alaska, Don honors those words.  The Dean of the House has the honor of administering the oath to the speaker which begins, ‘I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’

As Dean, Congressman Young will now have the special responsibility not only of defending the Constitution but of defending the integrity and dignity of this institution which he has done all along.  Following in the footsteps of great leaders before him, Sam Rayburn, John Quincy Adams, Carl Vinson, it is now Don’s solemn duty to help foster a climate of civility in the Congress and to hold our colleagues accountable.

Why are you laughing, Don?  For the behavior of raising a high standard for this body?  I told Don [that] I will tell you this story when I just congratulated him.

Don has been very helpful to us in making the Presidio go from an army post to a kind of national park.  I hope you consider that part of your legacy that you were part of establishing that in San Francisco.  I am ready to welcome you anytime you are ready for that, Don.

But in the course of our conversations over those times, I noticed one day that Don had on this beautiful tie.  It had like a bald eagle, it had a baby seal, and it had these beautiful animals on it, and I said, ‘Oh, Don, what a lovely, beautiful environmental tie you have on.’  He said, ‘I call it lunch.’

Again, we know that Don Young will always honor the important obligations, as he always has, and now his new obligations as Dean of the House of Representatives.  That’s historic.  Congratulations, and thank you for your service.

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