Politicians, friends fondly recall late Alaska congressman

Here is a sample of reactions after U.S. Rep. Don Young of Alaska, the longest-ever serving Republican member of the House, died Friday at the age of 88:

“Alaskans are devastated by this shocking and sad news and I am saddened beyond belief about the loss of my friend. We have lost a giant who we loved dearly and who held Alaska in his heart —always. Don was coming home to the place that he loved, and to the people that loved him best. We love you, Don.” — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska..

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“Some of my favorite stories as Republican Whip in the House are about Don Young. Nobody represented their state better or with more determination than Don Young represented Alaska.” —U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri.

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“Congressman Don Young has been a great friend and colleague of mine for many years. I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of this amazing man who, in many ways, formed Alaska into the great state it is today.” — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

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“As the longest serving U.S. Congressman and Dean of the House, he was one of Alaska’s biggest champions. His tireless work for Alaska over the last 49 years has made a tremendous impact across generations.” — Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson.

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“Sad to hear the news of Don Young’s passing. Don was not just the Dean of the House, he was also a dear friend and a true legend of Congress. Don was a tireless fighter for Alaska who loved the outdoors, including his trips down to Louisiana to fish. Don will be greatly missed.” — Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La

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“An absolutely heartbreaking loss for Congress, Alaska, and the United States of America. As Dean, Don Young was an institution in the House of Representatives, beloved and revered by Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Almost every Member of Congress has a one-of-a-kind story of their first interaction with Don Young. He was a tireless and exceptional advocate for the people of Alaska. He spent every single day doing what he loved — bringing his gargantuan voice and outsized leadership on behalf of Alaskans. He was a friend to so many. I was proud to call him a friend and colleague. Don Young’s sudden passing leaves a hole in our hearts and he is simply irreplaceable in the People’s House. Our deepest prayers and condolences go to his beloved family, friends, dedicated staff, and constituents.” — Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.

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“The first time we spoke, Don Young cheerfully informed me that I was the 17th secretary he’d dealt with at DOT. Our politics weren’t the same, but it was always a pleasure working with him. A true character, he shaped US infrastructure in many ways, and will be deeply missed.” — Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg

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“Sad to hear of the passing of Don Young longtime representative from Alaska he was a friend & dedicated public servant God bless his family during this difficult time.” — U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

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