During a House Natural Resources Committee hearing, Alaska Representative Don Young (R), suggested that wolves could cure the homeless problem in some congressional districts. Congressman Young uttered the bizarre remark during an exchange with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Chastising members of Congress who support protecting wolves, Young lashed out:
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.
The sharp-tongued Congressman has a history of making offensive comments. His contempt for the homeless is not disguised at all by his toxic remark. In addition, his cavalier comment, also reveals his misguided understanding of wolves as well. Wolves rarely attack humans. Although there are an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 wolves in North America, there has only been one documented human fatality from a wild wolf attack in the United States, and another one in Canada.
Furthermore, Congressman Young’s caustic remark ignores the fact that homelessness is a more serious problem in his district than in most congressional district. He is not in any position to call out other members of Congress, when his own backyard has a major homeless problem. In 2013, Alaska ranked 8th out of the 50 states, in per capita homeless rate, making it one of the nation’s leaders in that unfortunate category. Apparently, wolves are not the solution. Nor is Don Young, who has served 42 years as Alaska’s Representative, without tackling the problem of homelessness in his state.
Representative Young’s cruel joke exposes his hideous mindset. The Alaska Representative hints that he believes the way to eradicate homelessness is by turning wolves loose in areas where the homeless congregate. Perhaps he hasn’t considered building affordable housing as a better alternative. The Republican lawmaker implies that eradicating the homeless is a “solution” to the problem. Paradoxically, when he is not advocating introducing wolves into the district’s of his political enemies to feast upon the homeless, he wants them eradicated as well.
While Young’s comments were meant in jest, they unmask his true feelings about wildlife and human life alike. Young lacks empathy, common sense, and perspective. Alaska voters should demand better of their representatives, but after rewarding Congressman Young for his monstrous behavior, 22 elections in a row, its hard to imagine they ever will.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.