Avoiding Zoom, Don Young AWOL for 19 months bonus
“The expectation of voters is for their elected officials to show up for work,” said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of the government watchdog group Public Citizen, in an email. “While COVID has complicated this topic, taxpayers still have the right to be represented on committees, on the ground, and in the halls of Congress of those they send to DC to do the work.”
Watch groups rarely monitor the presence of members at the markers, choosing instead to monitor whether lawmakers vote in the House or the Senate. But committees, the watchdogs say, are where the real work gets done – where members have the opportunity to influence bills, leave their mark through amendments, and do the proverbial “make-up.” sausages ”which enters into the legislation.
Yet Jerry McBeath, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, doubts Young’s absence counts among voters in Alaska, who re-elected him with more than 50% of the vote in the three last elections. In 2020, he obtained 54.4% of the vote.
McBeath said Young’s last real challenge was during his 2008 primary, when he beat his challenger, Sean Parnell, by 304 votes.
Young, he said, is savvy and well known to Alaskans, and “knows full well where the money is and where to make sure it has things for Alaska.” He blunders, he said, but “the Alaskans just eat them”.