Rep. Don Young: sometimes a nattering nabob of niceness

Rep. Don Young has the reputation of being, well, being Don Young. Rough and irascible. Impulsive, wily and sometimes offensive. And that’s all true. But to others, particularly those outside the state, he’s also seen as one of those staunchly partisan conservatives that many blame for Washington’s ills. And all that’s not true.

From personal experience I can say that there’s little Young likes better than a good hearted, spirited debate and little he likes better than to have one with someone on the other side. And he’ll work with those on the other side as long as they deal with him in good faith. Sometimes, like the case of endorsing House colleague Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono — a Democrat — in her run for U.S. Senate, he’ll even campaign for them.

I don’t often publish press releases in full from members of our Congressional delegation because if I start, it will never end. But the one below from Young’s office congratulating Rep. John Dingell on becoming the longest serving member of Congress ever, was a particularly nice example of Young at his best, and the way D.C. should work.

Here’s the release:

I first met John Dingell long before I came to D.C. In 1960, he visited Fort Yukon, Alaska, where he met with our local community about a potential energy project in the region.  A World War II vet and member of the ‘Greatest Generation,’ John has had an impact on scores of major legislation passed through Congress over the past six decades, and he truly is a legislator’s legislator.

John has never been afraid to reach across the aisle, and his many years in public office have taught him that ‘Compromise is an honorable word,’ and all of us in Washington should follow his lead.

When I came to House in 1973, we soon became fast friends, and I have enjoyed his friendship ever since. Now a lot has changed since then, but John’s work on behalf of his district in Michigan, and his passion for legislating remains as fierce as when I met him over 50 years ago. It has been an honor and pleasure to serve with him the past 40 years, and I look forward to many more years roaming the halls of Congress with my dear friend from the Great Lake State. Congratulations John.