E-Newsletter: Merry Christmas From Congressman Young
113th Congress in Review
Anchorage, AK, December 22, 2014
As we approach the final days of 2014 and the close of the 113th Congress, it’s important to reflect back on the year we’ve had. There’s no question that as Alaskans and Americans we’ve faced significant challenges and opportunities. I’ve heard from countless Alaskans – school teachers, business owners, fisherman and doctors – all expressing their frustration and concern for the direction this nation is headed and for the massive expansion of federal policies that harm our local economies and threaten our way of life. Alaskans deserve better and I look forward to tackling these many issues when Congress returns in January.
I am once again grateful to the Alaskan people for the responsibility you’ve entrusted in me to serve the people and state I love so dearly. I thank you for your continued support and for always speaking your mind and making your voices heard as Congress takes up the many difficult decisions to move this country forward.
Congressman Young wishing Alaskans a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (click here to watch).
As friends and families gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and the holiday season, I would like to take a moment to recognize the hardworking men and women of our military. These guardians of freedom and stewards of peace sacrifice so much for this nation and deserve the utmost gratitude and thanks from all Americans.
To everyone in the state of Alaska and beyond, I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May this time of happiness and joy be a reminder of the many blessings God has given us – the love of friends and family, good health, and our undeniable Alaskan spirit and determination.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and God Bless you all!
The Capitol Tree lighting ceremony, one of the many Christmas traditions in the nation’s capital. Next year’s tree will be cut and transported from Alaska’s Chugach National Forest.
Happy Hanukkah to all those in Alaska celebrating the Festival of Lights!
An annual Christmas tradition of mine, ringing the Salvation Army bell at the 5th Avenue Mall in Anchorage.
Happy Winter Solstice Alaska! Yesterday, we celebrated the shortest day of the year. Check out this wide range of daylight across the state: Juneau: 6 hours 22 minutes; Anchorage: 5 hours 28 minutes; Fairbanks: 3 hours 42 minutes; Barrow: Darkness until January 23rd, 2015
"A Christmas Story" from Congressman Young
I was recently asked to describe my favorite childhood Christmas gift. Here is what I said:
“The best gift I ever received was a BB gun when I was six years old – a Red Ryder BB gun. It cost $2.50. My brother and I both got one that year. He shot his off in front of the family on Christmas day and shot a hole in the ceiling. His was taken away from him and I got to keep mine. That was my first of many guns, one I’ll always remember.”
113th Congress in Review
One of the most important responsibilities I have as Alaska’s sole Representative is assisting and helping individuals, groups and organizations with the many problems they face when dealing with the federal government. This often challenging task is particularly important as the size and scope of federal government continues to encroach on our everyday lives. While there are countless numbers to share over the last two years, I am most proud of the work my office has done to ensure individual Alaskans are getting the response and treatment they deserve from the federal government.
It’s no secret that the 113th Congress in considered one of the least productive since before WWII – having passed only 296 bills into law. While legislation isn’t always the answer to our nation’s problems, this number is an indication of the nation’s vast differences and the polarizing climate that has plagued our nation for too long.
Even in these divided times, my efforts to protect Alaska’s interests and achieve success for our people didn’t go unanswered. In the 113th Congress, I am proud to report that three pieces of legislation I wrote and introduced were signed into law, in an addition to numerous other bills, amendments and provisions that passed in larger pieces of legislation.
When Congress reconvenes in January, I will be returning as the longest serving Republican and 3rd most senior member of the House of Representatives. This seniority, combined with the leadership of Senator Lisa Murkowski as the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will bring significant opportunity for the Alaskan people and our many interests.
I will once again serve as the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, responsible for overseeing legislation that impacts more than 100,000 Alaskan residents. This tremendous honor has yielded a number of successes for Alaska and I look forward to serving in this capacity again.
As Congress moves forward, I will also be taking the lead on the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, legislation that sets federal fisheries policies across the nation. With a commitment from my House colleagues, I look forward to hitting the ground running and introducing MSA legislation that addresses the concerns of all our fishermen.
With that said, my top three legislative priorities for the 114th Congress are:
1. Ensuring access to our federal lands and resources;
2. Building Alaska’s infrastructure;
3. Ensuring a strong national defense and providing the resources to care for our veterans.
The biggest battle related to the first two priorities is the ongoing fight against the Obama Administration’s cascade of regulations pouring out of federal agencies in Washington D.C. Without access to our resources and the infrastructure necessary to support industry and our population, Alaska’s economy will contract and we will cease to thrive as a state.
In regard to the third priority, the Obama Administration is proposing to shrink our military at levels not seen since the early 20th Century. Without adequately providing for the defense of this nation, the United States will cease to be the beacon of freedom we are today. I will continue to work towards passing legislation that promotes a vibrant economy and strong military for all Americans.
In the final days of the 113th Congress, the House and Senate made a significant push to move a number of outstanding bills. While a number of House passed bills – meant to spur economic growth, reduce burdensome regulations, and hold the federal government accountable for their actions – failed to receive consideration in the Senate, I was proud to see the passage of important Alaskan legislation and provisions.
Here’s a list of Alaska specific bills and provisions recently signed into law by the President:
H.R. 5069, the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014
Congress recently sent legislation to the President that adjusts the price of the federal duck stamp, an annual permit required to hunt ducks across the nation. I was proud to include language in this legislation that exempts subsistence hunters in rural Alaska from purchasing these annual stamps. This was a major victory for rural Alaska and our many residents who have faced hardships in obtaining the federal duck stamp. Click here to read more.
Congressman Young discussing the passage of H.R. 5069, the Federal Duck Stamp Act (click here to listen)
As the former Chairmen and senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I was proud to see the passage of a one year Coast Guard reauthorization that advanced a number of important Alaskan causes, including a 3-year moratorium on overbearing EPA regulations facing fisherman and vessel owners, improvements to USCG lands and housing infrastructure, raises for our service members and improvements for veteran employment opportunities.
As Alaskans, we understand the critical role the Coast Guard plays in protecting our waterways and securing our coastlines, and this legislation represents a firm commitment by Congress to strengthen and support the Coast Guard’s mission, which includes more than 2,500 active duty, reserve, and civilian personnel in Alaska. Click here to read more.
S. 1847, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 (NDAA)
Congress recently moved legislation to provide a number of key military reforms across the country, including efforts to protect Alaskan military operations and service members, prevent military sexual assault and suicide, reaffirm the F-35 basing at Eielson Air Force Base, and convey federal lands to local entities.
While I would have preferred to see passage of this important legislation months ago, I’m pleased to see the House and Senate come together in our final days to find common ground. In these divided times, it’s often difficult to achieve perfect legislation, but this bipartisan, bicameral agreement works to put our military men and women first and provide them with the resources and reforms they need to train, fight, and protect our country.
The legislation included a number of important public land provisions in Alaska, items I worked on and supported in the House. Click here to read more.