Alaska’s U.S. Rep. Don Young reverted to form Thursday night.
He spoke somewhat harshly of another lawmaker on the floor of the U.S. House. Judged against his past statements, it was nothing spectacular.
But then Young did something unusual: He made nice.
The incident happened during a late-night session on a big spending bill. Young was pressing for an amendment to ditch an Obama administration rule that bans certain methods of killing predators on lands managed by the National Park Service.
U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., argued for keeping the rule.
It’s not the first time the House has had this debate, and Jayapal’s defense did not break new ground.
She said the Park Service has a mission to protect wildlife.
“In 1994, Alaska did pass a law that undercut those efforts by allowing for extreme predator control, which led to fringe practices that could hardly be called traditional hunting,” freshman Rep. Jayapal said.
Something she said got under Young’s skin.
“I rarely do this but I’m deeply disappointed in my good lady from Washington,” Young began. “Doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.”
Young said her statement might’ve come from the Humane Society. He called her “young lady.”
She accused him of impugning her motives, which would be a violation of House rules.
Sorting it out might’ve held up proceedings, and it was going to be a long night anyhow.
A staff member from House Speaker’s office went to talk to Young, playing peacemaker. Democrats huddled with Jayapal.
The peacemaker left Young, crossed the chamber to talk to the Democrats.
“I totally get that, and I’m trying to manage this,” he can be heard saying.
“He’s also … he’s also … Don Young.”
After a few minutes, Young crossed the aisle, too, then returned to the Republican side of the room.
“I ask unanimous consent to withdraw my offending words,” Young said. “And to the lady: I do apologize. I get very defensive about my state.”
In the end, Young’s amendment passed, 215-196. The bill is likely to clear the House next week.
- A ballot initiative aimed at protecting salmon habitat is facing stiff opposition from industry groups, unions and Native corporations in Alaska. That opposition was on full display at an Anchorage hearing on the measure this week.
- The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority has contracted a team of real estate experts to help decide what to do with a waterfront property it put up for sale more than two years ago. But the City and Borough of Juneau and would-be developers are losing patience.
- About 50 community members waved homemade signs. Representatives from the Alaska branch AFL-CIO and Alaska Native community also spoke.
- Starting Oct. 1, the airline will fly between St. Paul and Anchorage three times per week instead of four — and between Dillingham and Anchorage two times per day instead of three.