I was re-elected to the 114th Congress in 2014 to serve my 22nd 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 Congress.
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 say, “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. At the same time, I continued my vigorous fight against federal control of lands that Alaskans were rightfully entitled – a battle that continues 40 years later.
Today, I am the Republican Dean of the House of Representatives (the longest serving Republican member) and the 3rd overall ranking member. I am a current member and former Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which is Congress’ largest committee with 75 members. I am also a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, a committee I chaired during the 104th, 105th, and 106th Congresses, and proudly continue to serve on in a leadership capacity as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs – an honor I have had since the 112th Congress.
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 114th Congress, I have been tapped by the House Natural Resources Committee Chairman to lead the fight on reauthorizing national fisheries legislation known as the Magnusson-Stevens Act. I am fortunate to have passed more bills into law than any other member of the House of Representatives and look forward to building upon these efforts.
My home is 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. Lu was always at my side and 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.
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 114th 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.