Dunbar on Young: ‘Schools should think twice before exposing youth to Congressman Young’

According to the Alaska Dispatch, Rep. Don Young “acted in a disrespectful and sometimes offensive manner to some students, used profanity and started talking about bull sex when confronted with a question about same-sex marriage,” during a visit to Wasilla High School on Tuesday. Worse yet, he made insensitive statements about suicide, days after a student who went to the school committed suicide.

Young’s spokesperson subsequently apologized, and said that Young should have taken a “much more sensitive approach” while speaking to the 120 or so students.

It was just that latest in a string of potentially embarrassing incidents involving Young, including, but not limited to, threatening to kill his challenger like he did “the other guy,” making goofy faces on the House floor while another House member was talking about a veteran who was killed in action, twisting the arm of a House aide, and barging through a House security barricade. All this just this year alone.

Democratic candidate Forrest Dunbar, as he should have, pounced. “Today Don Young demonstrated again that schools should think twice before exposing youth to Congressman Young,” he said, linking to a story recounting the time when Young blurted out the word, “butt f–king” to a group of Fairbanks students in the late 1980s.

And then Dunbar softened up: “What Don said was mistaken, and I think he regrets saying it. It shows ignorance about the issue, that’s all,” Dunbar said, referring to the remarks about suicide. (Dunbar’s full release is below.)

Dunbar has had plenty to work with, and has done a good job doing so with the limited resources and the experience that he has, but he could have done much more with more. Dunbar’s only 29 30 years old. But he’s clerked for former Sen. Frank Murkowski. He’s been in the Peace Corp, has a Yale Law degree, a master’s from Harvard Kennedy School, and is a first lieutenant in the Alaska National Guard.

In other words, he brings a good resume with his candidacy.

However, whereas Young as raised $758,380 so far in this election cycle, Dunbar has only raised a total of $159,351, all of it from individuals, except for a $2,093 “in kind” contribution for research from the Alaska Democratic Party, which has been doling out as much as $10,000 checks to state legislative candidates.

And the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has completely stiffed Dunbar.

In fact, one of the big stories of this election cycle might just be how the Democrats missed their chance at winning a U.S. House seat in Alaska.

Here’s Dunbar’s press release:

Today Don Young demonstrated again that schools should think twice before exposing youth to Congressman Young. In a performance that would make any mental health professional cringe, Alaska Dispatch News writes that Don Young told an assembly full of grieving students at Wasilla High School, who recently lost a classmate to suicide, that suicide shows a lack of support from friends and family. This lack of an understanding of mental illness stunned students and faculty. Young went so far as to highlight his misunderstanding by saying, “Well, what, do you just go to the doctor and get diagnosed with suicide?”

Alaska has the highest rate of suicide in the country. According to an Alaska Department of Health and Social Security study, suicide rates are particularly high in rural communities, among youth, and in the Alaska Native community: “The rate of suicide in the United States was 11.5 suicides per 100,000 people in 2007. In 2007, Alaska’s rate was 21.8 suicides per 100,000 people. The rate of suicide among Alaska Native peoples was 35.1 per 100,000 people in 2007.”

“Like most kids who grew up in rural Alaska, I’ve had several friends who took their own lives. Suicide can strike any family, and it is truly a mental health issue. In this state, in particular, suicide is a crisis,” stated Forrest Dunbar, Don Young’s opponent for Alaska’s Congressional seat.  “What Don said was mistaken, and I think he regrets saying it. It shows ignorance about the issue, that’s all. I hope he has the opportunity to learn more about suicide in Alaskan communities, though I sincerely hope he doesn’t have to learn about it the way I did.”

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


13 thoughts on “Dunbar on Young: ‘Schools should think twice before exposing youth to Congressman Young’

  1. Amy Carroll

    To the many people at work and around town who have asked if the above comment is mine: NO. It’s someone else with the same name.

    Amy Carroll (from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Juneau Alaska)

  2. joeblow

    This is terrible! Why, I’ll bet this will make the race a real squeaker, Don will only scrape by with a 30 point margin!

  3. Lynn Willis

    When Don finally goes to that great caucus in the sky we should consider using taxidermy and robotics to maintain the status quo.

  4. Amy Carroll

    Young attended a luncheon recently. He brought three ladies with him whom he introduced as his “harem.” You can’t make this stuff up.

  5. Derp

    I think part of it (earlier) was begich’s ‘buddy buddy with young and murkowski’ strategy that the dems were going along with… But at this point Dunbar definitely has earned some amount of public help- and the demos should give it to him on the basis of the terrific future candidate that he could become (with support).

    I mean for a party that was dead set on going down with the Mallott ship, it doesn’t seem consistent to be abandoning Dunbar just because he likely won’t win this cycle.

    Plus, turn out the youth vote much? Sorry for the long post, making up for the stretch before

  6. Amanda Post author

    @Derp. There you are! I wouldn’t have expected them to give a lot, but a nominal amount might have helped convince the national to give some, and then you know, money begets money. Age fixed. Thanks for that.

  7. Derp

    Ok Amanda, to be fair, Dunbar wasn’t a rational choice for a money-dump by the Democratic party earlier in the year. Despite a good resume, he was only 29 (correction to OP: he’s now 30), hadn’t raised much, had never run for office, was running against an incumbent who had beat off every challenger for 40+ years, and there were many other important races to invest in. Why they didn’t include him in those Mallott/Begich field offices.. idk, whatever. Guess he was an unknown.

    So they can be excused for that mistake. But today, after all this has happened, and it is clear that he was a good candidate all along– go look at the Alaska Democrats facebook page.

    1 hour ago: sullivan=right to work for less. 4 hours ago: club for growth = sullivan. Yesterday: Laurie Hummell on Sean Parnell. More sullivan.

    Why on earth would they not at least give Dunbar the slightest of nods in the form of a free facebook post? I’ll be voting for Begich, but Nate Silver says he probably won’t win. Why wouldn’t the ADP want to put at least a small amount of energy into bringing up young, fresh candidates like Dunbar? Baffling.

  8. A True Democrrat

    The only thing as ridiculous, irrational and upsetting as Young’s offensive remarks is the Walker/Mallott ticket. The only thing like it may be one of Byron’s famous temper tantrums. I wish that Hollis French were our nominee. For that matter, I’d even take Ethan Berkowitz and his goof-ball radio co-host as LG. What a sick state AK has become.

  9. Grace W.

    Is Don Young suffering from dementia or having problems? Something is seriously wrong. A sane individual would not act this way.

  10. Howard

    Don Young has been a good public servant and has contributed substantially to the betterment of Alaska and our country. Now, its time for him to go. He has become an embarrassment to himself, his party and our state. His arrogance is disgusting and unacceptable.
    I am appauled that his office made an apology. Why not him? His behavior is unacceptable and his re-election sends the wrong message to our children. Its time that Alaskans take their vote seriously. We have to quit electing clowns like Palin and Young.

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