RESOURCES: Longtime chair acknowledges taint from federal investigation.
...It definitely is the end of an era, said Deborah Williams, an environmentalist who now heads Alaska Conservation Solutions. In the Clinton Administration, Williams worked for then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt as a top aide on Alaska issues while Young headed the Resources Committee. In that role, she often testified about Alaska-related matters at his committee meetings, and occasionally, sparred with him.
"When Don Young sought to advance the public good in that position, it was a pleasure to work with him and he was very effective," Williams said. "But again and again, when he sought to advocate for legislation or interests that were not in the public interest ... he was thwarted and spent a lot of energy and political capital on issues that did not advance."
Young held the chairmanship of the committee until internal House rules on term limits for committee chairmanships forced him to step aside for Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah. Hansen held the seat for two years before the Republican Young had mentored, Rep. Richard Pombo of California, took over as chairman.
Young then took over as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he oversaw the $286.4 billion highway spending bill in 2005 that included money for what became known as Alaska's "bridges to nowhere." It also earmarked $10 million for the now-infamous Coconut Road interchange study in Florida that, this year, prompted Young's colleagues to ask for a federal investigation into how it was inserted in the bill... (Complete Story)