Don Young Port of Alaska – Honoring a Legacy of Service and Controversy

In a recent decision that has sparked both celebration and dissent, the Anchorage Assembly voted 10-2 to name the Port of Alaska after the late Congressman Don Young. With 49 years of service in the U.S. House on behalf of Alaska, Young left a lasting impact on the state before passing away on March 18, 2022. While this decision was met with opposition from Assemblywomen Karen Bronga and Meg Zaletel, it ultimately reflects the will of the citizens’ naming panel and Mayor Dave Bronson’s personal connection to Young.

Don Young’s Legacy of Service

Don Young dedicated nearly half a century to serving the people of Alaska, advocating for their interests and fighting for their rights. Throughout his tenure, he played a crucial role in securing federal funding for various infrastructure projects, including the Port of Alaska. His efforts ensured the growth and development of the state’s economy, benefiting industries such as shipping, fishing, and oil.

However, not everyone in the Anchorage Assembly agreed with the decision to honor Young in this way. Assemblywoman Karen Bronga voiced her dissent, citing concerns about Young’s behavior later in his career. While it is important to acknowledge any valid criticism, it is equally crucial to recognize the overall impact and contributions of an individual’s service.

The Significance of the Port of Alaska

The Port of Alaska is a vital hub for commerce and trade, connecting Alaska to the rest of the world. It serves as a gateway for the state’s exports, including natural resources and seafood, while also facilitating the import of goods necessary for the well-being of Alaskans. Naming the port after Don Young recognizes his instrumental role in securing funding and support for its development, ensuring its continued growth and success.

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The naming of the Port of Alaska after Don Young holds significance not only for the state’s history but also for its future. It serves as a reminder of the importance of public service and the impact that dedicated individuals can have on their communities. This decision encourages reflection on the legacy we leave behind and the values we hold dear.


Q: Why did some Assembly members oppose the naming of the Port of Alaska after Don Young?
A: Some Assembly members, including Karen Bronga, expressed concerns about Young’s behavior later in his career, believing that rewarding him for his contributions could be seen as condoning his alleged insensitivity and disrespect towards women.

Q: Why did Mayor Dave Bronson veto the attempt to delay the vote?
A: Mayor Dave Bronson vetoed the attempt to delay the vote because he personally knew Don Young and honored the late congressman’s request to have the port named after him. Bronson believed that the citizens’ naming panel had already gone through a thorough process and had recommended the name unanimously.

Q: What is the role of the Port of Alaska in the state’s economy?
A: The Port of Alaska plays a crucial role in supporting various industries, such as shipping, fishing, and oil. It serves as a vital connection point for trade, facilitating the import and export of goods that contribute to the state’s economy and the well-being of its residents.

The decision to name the Port of Alaska after Don Young represents a recognition of his long-standing service to the state and his contributions to its development. While dissenting opinions exist, it is important to remember that the naming panel and the majority of the Anchorage Assembly supported this decision. Let us honor the legacy of Don Young and reflect on the impact that individuals can have on their communities. Check back for updates on this ongoing story.

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