Young: Close bases, move troops to JBER

Congressman tells local chamber Alaska could be training center


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U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) addresses the crowd at the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 19 at the Bear Mountain Grill. Young said he hopes Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson can become a major training center for U.S. forces in the years to come.

STAR PHOTO BY MATT TUNSETH

Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) wouldn’t mind seeing American military bases around the world shut down — with a catch.

“I really want the troops to come to the state of Alaska,” Young said on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at a meeting of the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce at the Bear Mountain Grill.

Young was speaking in response to a question about America’s large number of bases abroad, and whether he thinks some of those bases can be shuttered.

“We don’t need troops in Germany,” Young said.

However, he’d like to see the nation’s military presence beefed up at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, a place he thinks can become a strategic training center for the entire military.

“Make this the training grounds for all our military,” Young said.

Young, who currently ranks sixth in seniority among all U.S. Representatives, spoke on a wide range of topics during his speech and took questions from the audience.

Long a champion of large Alaska projects, Young said he thinks one of the biggest needs the state is currently facing is a lack of affordable energy.

“We should build the Susitna dam right now,” he said.

If the proposed hydroelectric project in the Mat-Su were to go through, Young said the state would be much more capable of sustaining itself in the long run.

“If we don’t have cheap power, you have nothing,” he said.

As for the current state of the nation, Young said he thinks “bobbleheads” in the media are responsible for drumming up controversy and creating a polarized nation where people are unable to have a reasoned debate.

“The middle’s not being heard,” he said.

Young said people need to seek out information from different news sources, rather than relying on cable news outlets.

“24 hours a day they tell you what to belive,” he said.

Young said he thinks the dominance of large media outlets in the national debate leads to American voters making poor decisions.

“How can you select a president with sound bites?” he asked.

Young, 78, said he’s not sure how much longer he plans to stay in Congress, though the did hint that he might step down — after a couple more terms. Until then, he said his main goal will be to continue to try and make sure Alaska is well represented in Washington.

“I’ll fight for this state,” he said. “Always have, always will.”

 

Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or matt.tunseth@alaskastar.com

 

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