Alaskan Rep. Don Young has suggested wolves could solve the nation’s homeless problem. The Republican Congressman made the unusual suggestion during a recent meeting of the House Natural Resources Committee. Although a spokesman later dismissed the remark as “purposely hyperbolic,” Young’s comments are being criticized as highly insensitive.
On March 4, 79 members of Congress signed a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. The letter asked Jewell to deny the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s request to remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered species.
As he fully supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Don Young has been vocal in his opposition to the letter. During Thursday’s meeting, the congressman addressed Jewell directly, criticizing the letter and her subsequent reaction.
Congresman Don Young wants to release wolves to remove homeless Alaskans from the area. http://t.co/Jl1RBFNchR
— Reddit Politics (@Politics_Reddit) March 6, 2015
As reported by Washington Post, Young’s diatribe took a bizarre turn when he started discussing the nation’s wolf population. He began by asking Congress members whether they have any wolves in their districts. He then answered his own question and added an unusual suggestion.
“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.”
Don Young’s solution for homelessness was met with stark criticism. However, his spokesman said the comment was not meant to be taken literally. The spokesman said Young was simply trying “to stress the point that these predators pose serious threats to wildlife management and their listing has damaging impacts to local communities.”
Alaskan Rep. Don Young is no stranger to controversy. Although he has been a member of Congress for more than 40 years, Young is well-known for making questionable, and controversial, comments.
— Buh Bye GOP (@BuhByeGOP) March 6, 2015
During a 2013 interview with a Ketchikan, Alaska, radio station, Young explained that his family “used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes.” As “wetback” is a derogatory term used to describe Mexican immigrants or migrant workers, Young’s comment remains a point of controversy.
As reported by Fox News, the Congressman later issued a formal apology and explained that he “meant no disrespect.” However, Congressional Hispanic Caucus chairman Ruben Hinojosa said “it is deeply disheartening that… we are forced to have a discussion about a member of Congress using such hateful words and racial slurs.”
Don Young’s comments about homelessness were met with a similar reaction. Although his spokesman said the words were not meant to be taken literally, Young refused to comment on the controversy.
[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]