Politics

Alaska Congressman Says Wolves Will Solve Homelessness

| by Ethan Brown
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A longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) is used to being criticized for his bizarre comments. His latest comment is no exception.

In a meeting with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell discussing the budget for her department, the House Natural Resources Committee, Young chastised the Secretary for making decisions on state policies without discussing them with state legislators first.

The Alaska representative has been an advocate for removing the gray wolf from the endangered species list and brought up the recent letter sent to Secretary Jewell by 79 members of Congress requesting that Jewell do all she could to protect the gray wolf population. Young was not very supportive of this measure.

“How many of you have got wolves in your district?” he asked the other lawmakers.  “None. Not one.”

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“They haven’t got a damn wolf in their whole district.  I’d like to introduce them in your district.  If I introduced them in your district, you wouldn’t have a homeless problem anymore.”

Young’s spokesman later clarified the congressman’s comments, saying the “analogy was purposely hyperbolic to stress the point that these predators pose serious threats to wildlife management and their listing has damaging impacts to their local communities.”

Rep. Young has been known for his controversial comments in the past. In October 2014, he was not well-received after speaking at a local high school in Alaska, where a student had just committed suicide days prior. Young blamed the suicide on a lack of support from friends and family. When he was questioned by a participant in the audience on his comments, Young said, “Well, what, do you just go to the doctor and get diagnosed with suicide?”

In Alaska, the population of the gray wolf far exceeds the populations elsewhere in the country. In Alaska, “there are an estimated 7,000 to 11,200 gray wolves.” The Great Lakes (Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota) region has about 3,700 gray wolves, while the gray wolf population in the Northern Rockies (Montana, Wyoming, Idaho) stands at 1,675.

Sources: CBS News (2), Washington Post, Defenders of Wildlife

Photo Credit: Lars Falkdalen Lindahl/Flickr, talkingpointsmemo.com