Washington Update | July 2020
Updates from Alaska and Washington, D.C.
Dear Alaskans,

It has been a busy July, both in the great State of Alaska and in Washington, D.C. While we are still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, my work for Alaska continues. I recently traveled throughout Southeast meeting with constituents, among them many small business owners. I greatly appreciated the chance to hear how these uncertain times have affected them, and what they believe Congress should be working on. July was also full of important legislative developments in Washington, D.C., and I hope you’ll take a moment to read this newsletter to get up to speed with my recent work on behalf of Alaska. As always, if you need help with a federal agency or would like to share your perspective on issues before Congress, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Meeting with the U.S. Coast Guard in Juneau

It was my great honor to join Rear Admiral Matthew Bell aboard the USCGC Bailey Barco recently in Juneau. I have been a long-time advocate of homeporting Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) like the Bailey Barco in Alaska. Countless families in our state depend on the ocean to make a living, and FRCs are a critical tool for ensuring that our waters are safe and navigable. America is an Arctic nation because of Alaska, and as the area changes in the decades ahead, we must be ready to protect America’s national security and economic interests in the region; FRCs will be central to this goal. I especially appreciated the chance to meet with some of the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard, and I am proud of the work they do in our state and am proud of the role they’ll play as the Arctic’s global profile continues to grow. Thank you to Rear Admiral Bell and everyone who helped make this visit possible. God Bless our Coast Guard!
Policy Discussion with Ahtna
 

I want to express my sincere gratitude to Ahtna, Inc for hosting me this month for a discussion at Klutina Culture Camp. Ahtna does vital work to ensure that their communities succeed, and I appreciated our wide-ranging discussion on transportation, energy costs, CARES Act relief, and much more. These are trying times for our country, and our Native communities have felt the impact as well. It continues to be my goal to help them come out stronger than ever before. In Congress, I will always stand up for our ANCs and Native villages, so that future generations of Alaska Natives can thrive. Thank you for a great conversation!
Supporting our Military in the NDAA 

I want America's fighting men and women to know that we have their backs. I'm proud to share that I helped the House pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes needed funding for military expenditures, provides a 3.1% military pay raise, and bolsters natural disaster and pandemic preparedness. This is a very good bill, and it accomplishes some great things for Alaska.

In Congress, relationships are crucial; this year, I worked with my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee to include my amendments, which bolster active duty health care, strengthen communications in the Arctic, and take action to turn the tide in the fight against military suicides. My good friend, the late Senator Ted Stevens, was a steadfast advocate for our great state. I am especially pleased that this year's NDAA makes essential progress to ensure that the Ted Stevens Center for Security Studies becomes a reality.

Click here to read more about this year's NDAA.

Landmark Conservation Legislation
   

I proudly helped the House pass the Great American Outdoors Act – landmark conservation legislation that funds the National Park Service maintenance backlog and secures a healthy environment for future generations. I am especially proud that this bill includes permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a cause I have long championed in Congress. I want to thank my colleagues in both the House and Senate and on both sides of the aisle for coming together to write a robust bill.

It is my great hope that the Great American Outdoors Act protects our environment so that future generations have the same opportunities to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors just as Americans have for hundreds of years. The bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Read more by clicking here.
Standing Up for Alaska on the House Floor

With the amount of attention placed on Alaska by my Democrat colleagues, one may be led to think that our state has more than one Representative in the House. Year after year, Democrats – many who have never even stepped foot in the State of Alaska – attempt to tell our state and its people how we should or should not be going about our daily lives. Sadly, this first appropriations bill is no different.

In America’s Last Frontier, we hunt and trap, we responsibly develop our resources, and we appreciate the infrastructure that keeps us connected. But if it were up to my friends on the other side of the aisle, Alaska would be locked away, experienced only through books and television. My constituents sent me here to fight for our state, and I took to the House Floor last week to oppose their anti-Alaska efforts and make my views abundantly clear: Hands Off Alaska! Click here for my full speech.

The Paycheck Protection Program is Working for Alaska
        
 
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has saved over 114,000 jobs across Alaska, and I was proud to support the CARES Act which created it. This resource is critical to keeping our state’s small businesses open and their dedicated workers on the payroll in these uncertain times. The deadline to apply for PPP loans was recently extended to August 8th, and I encourage you to click here to learn how to apply. It will continue to be my priority in Congress to support our small businesses, in Alaska and across the country.

Strengthening Alaska's Water Infrastructure

    

This week, the House passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). This year's WRDA bill reauthorizes the activities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and sets priorities to improve our nation's ports system, inland waterways, dams, levees, aids to navigation, flood control, and the operational functions the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers undertake in support of national, state, and local water resources development needs.

I am pleased to share that many of the Alaska-specific priorities I fought for made it into the final bill, including millions of dollars for projects at the Port of Nome, Dutch Harbor, and St. George Harbor. Additionally, my provisions to improve the Corps Tribal Partnership Program that assists Alaska Natives with water infrastructure projects, and an extension of the Army Corp’s responsibility to maintain Seward’s Lowell Creek Flood Diversion System defraying potential costs to the city also made it into the final bill. Click here to learn more.

Addressing the Wrangell Assembly

Thank you to Wrangell Mayor Steve Prysunka, Manager Lisa Von Bargen, and members of the Wrangell Assembly for a productive virtual meeting via Zoom. Our conversation covered many topics important to Wrangell and Southeast, including strengthening our hydropower sector, repairing infrastructure, and ensuring the Secure Rural Schools program is working for Alaska. I appreciated the great questions and am looking forward to continuing our work together in the years ahead!

Annual First City Rotary Duck Race 

The First City Rotary Club has been a central part of Ketchikan and the surrounding communities for over 30 years. I've always appreciated the ways they engage Alaskans of all ages, and encourage them to get involved in civic life. It was my honor to participate in this year's Annual Duck Race, which raises thousands of dollars every year to support youth and elders, education, outdoor recreation, and much more. Although we couldn't see everyone together in person for the race, I'm grateful for everyone who tuned in to watch virtually. I want to extend my sincere congratulations to the winners and thank everyone who helped make this amazing event possible!

Helping Alaskans Stay Warm During Winter

America is an Arctic nation because of Alaska, and brutally cold temperatures are the norm for our state’s residents. For years, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has helped some of our most vulnerable populations – from our cities to our rural areas and Native villages – stay warm and safe through the winter. The COVID-19 pandemic has already imposed immense economic costs on our state’s families.

As the winter approaches, many Alaskans will require energy assistance; the LIHEAP program must be available to those who need it. I am proud to join Congresswoman Haley Stevens on crucial legislation to strengthen this important program that countless families in Alaska and across our nation depend on. Click here to read more.

Protecting Alaska's Environment and Seabirds 
      

I had a great virtual meeting with Audubon Society members from Alaska. These Alaskans are powerful advocates for preventing coastal erosion and saving seabirds who depend on healthy oceans and shores. Last month, Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and I introduced the bipartisan Shovel-Ready Restoration Grants for Coastlines and Fisheries Act. This is critical legislation to help preserve Alaska’s coastline and fund conservation projects that are ready to go. Click here to read more.
Meeting with the Wrangell Chamber of Commerce

For years, the Wrangell Chamber of Commerce has been advocating for small business, civic engagement, and our rich culture in the City and Borough of Wrangell. I greatly appreciated the chance to sit down with Chamber members as we discussed their concerns and ideas for Wrangell and the surrounding areas. Thank you to Executive Director Stephanie Cook for setting up a productive meeting and conversation. I know that together, we're going to come out the other side of this stronger than ever before!

Sincerely,

Don Young
Congressman for All Alaska

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Congressman Don Young Fights for the U.S. Coast Guard

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At a difficult time, much-needed good news for America’s parks

 
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One of the most important things I do as a U.S. Representative is help people with federal problems. Although I cannot override the decisions made by a federal agency, I can often intervene on a person's behalf to answer questions, find solutions, or just cut through the red tape. Click here to contact me.
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