In 2016, I was re-elected to the 115th Congress to serve my 23rd term as Alaska’s only Representative to the United States House of Representatives. My tenure in office has been driven by my deep love for Alaska and the nation, and my hope to provide all citizens the opportunity for a better life, not just today, but well into the future. I have an impassioned and sincere desire to continue serving Alaska in the United States House of Representatives.
On March 6, 1973, against overwhelming odds, I was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election victory. Just hours after being sworn-in, I found myself leading the historic battle in the House for the approval of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. I often tell people that, “next to statehood itself, the most historical passage of legislation that ever affected every Alaskan, then, now and in the future, was the passage of the pipeline legislation.”
That same year, I was honored by my colleagues as ‘Freshman Congressman of the Year. I went on to gain key appointments to the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee and pushed through the critical 200-mile fishing limit. During time, I continued my vigorous fight against federal control of lands that Alaskans were rightfully entitled – a battle that continues more than 40 years later.
On December 6, 2017, I became the Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives, a title that is given to the longest continuously serving Member of the House and as of April 1, 2018 I am the longest serving Member in both the House and Senate of the 115th Congress. I am a current member and former Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which is Congress’ largest committee with 50 members. I am also the Chairman Emeritus of the House Natural Resources Committee, a committee I chaired during the 104th, 105th, and 106th Congresses, and proudly continue to serve on.
Together, these committees have a direct and significant impact on all Alaskans. I continue to introduce and sponsor legislation today for the benefit of all Alaskans and the Nation. In the 115th Congress, I was tapped by the House Natural Resources Committee Chairman to lead the fight on reauthorizing national fisheries legislation known as the Magnusson-Stevens Act – legislation I originally co-authored in 1975. I am also fortunate to have been named among the top 10 most effective lawmakers in Congress, crediting a laser-like focus on Alaska policy issues and ability to move bills through the legislative process. I have proudly passed more bills – a majority with an Alaskan focus – into law than any other member of the House of Representatives, and I look forward to building upon these successes.
After serving my nation in the United States Army and completing my college education, I moved to Alaska in 1959 to pursue my passion for the great outdoors. I proudly made my home a stone’s throw from Alaska’s Yukon River in Fort Yukon, Alaska, a remote village of approximately 700 people located 7 miles above the Arctic Circle in Alaska’s central interior region. It was in Fort Yukon that I met and married a young bookkeeper named Lu. Always by my side, Lu supported me throughout my public service career. Lu and I were married for 46 years, and were blessed with and raised two daughters, Joni and Dawn, and 14 grandchildren. Lu passed away on August 2, 2009 at the age of 67. I thank God for the many years we had together and I miss her every day. Although I never thought I would find love again, God led me to a kind and caring woman named Anne – a remarkable flight nurse and proud mother of two children and six grandchildren. On June 9, 2015, Anne gave me the best gift anyone could ask for – her hand in marriage.
I proudly serve as the “Congressman for All Alaska” and love my role as the only Alaskan Representative in the House. Renewed by the challenges and goals of the 115th Congress and my committee positions, I will continue to champion legislation and funding for programs benefiting Alaska and the nation. My vision remains the same – to provide citizens with the opportunity for a better life not just for today, but also for tomorrow and the future.