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article imageOp-Ed: GOP Rep. Don Young: Wolves would solve the homeless problem

By Karen Graham     Mar 7, 2015 in Politics
It seems that being a politician these days is really tough. Alaska GOP Rep. Don Young found out how the hard way when he suggested Thursday that the best way to solve homelessness was wolves. Would this be considered shooting yourself in the foot?
Alaskan representative Don Young is no stranger to controversy, as his "salty tongue" has gotten him into hot water many times over his 42-year career as a Representative for Alaska. But as the saying goes, "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." It seems his comment might just backfire on him.
Young's comment came during a five-minute exchange of words with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on the agency’s budget. He accused her and her department of making decisions without any consultations with the states those decisions would effect. The sharp-tongued lawmaker lashed out, saying: "How many of you have got wolves in your district? None. None. Not one. 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."
Doing some quick clean-up work for Congressman Young, a spokesman told the Washington Post Young's statement was meant to emphasize "these predators pose serious threats to wildlife management and their listing has damaging impacts to local communities.”
Young is infamous for his sharp, and sometimes vulgar remarks. In October, 2014, during a question-and-answer session with students at a Wasilla, Alaska high school, he used profane language and made some highly insensitive remarks about suicide and gay marriage. The sad thing was that just the week before, one of the students had taken his own life.
Many witnesses came forward to say Young had used profanity multiple times during the assembly. But the worst, and most hurtful remark he made was in answer to a student who had responded to his remarks about suicide by saying, "He had friends. He had support. ... It’s depression -- you know, a mental illness." Young shot back, replying, "Well, what, do you just go to the doctor and get diagnosed with suicide?"
Young's remarks on the homeless don't disguise his contempt for their plight. His comment about wolves only shows us just how ignorant he is about the subject. Wolves rarely have been known to attack humans. Of the 60,000 to 70,000 wolves in North America, there has been only one documented fatality from a wild wolf in the U.S. and one other in Canada.
As far as the homeless problem goes, Young has ignored what has become a serious problem in his home district, and it's far worse than in most Congressional districts. In 2013, Alaska ranked 8th out of the 50 states, in the per capita homeless rate for the U.S. The really sad result of Young's 42-year stint as a representative for his district is that he has never tackled homelessness.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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