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September 22, 2021

Don Young “We used to hire wetbacks.”

Congressman for all Alaska Don Young is known for his verbal gaffes. The Ear just had a nice summation for the Congressman’s 40th Anniversary in office:


40 years of the mind-bending wit and wisdom we so love. Who can forget “Pribilof’s dog,” “bladderdash” and the “money we get is a piddlance of the total bill.” Well we remember his claim that he convinced his wife to get a “monogram” (you know, to prevent breast cancer). And he once reported replacing copper piping in his home with inexpensive “PCP pipe” (Ear is pretty sure he meant PVC pipe; if not, hallucinations may have been involved.).

And there’s Ear’s most recent favorite, in which Don explains seemingly contradictory comments to a TV reporter: “I don’t agree with what I said.”

But sometimes, things go beyond gaffe and into the category of inappropriate, horrifying, and utterly tone deaf. Methinks the Congressman can kiss the latino vote goodbye next time around.

“My father used to own a ranch. We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes, you know. It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”




35 Responses to “Don Young “We used to hire wetbacks.””
  1. fishingmamma says:

    I think he keeps getting elected by people that want him to live elsewhere.

  2. simple mind says:

    For anyone who thinks Mr. Young’s racial slur will make any difference, read the remarks of Peter Goldberg, vice chairman of the Alaska Republican Party as quoted from the Anchorage Daily News:

    “I mean, if you are a member of that ethnic group, if you’re Hispanic, you probably find it offensive. But then again, if you’ve been in Alaska quite a while, you’ve known Don Young for up to 40 years, because that’s how long he’s been a congressman, and I think you’d get past it.” … “[Young] made a mistake. He recognizes it. He knows it probably better than anyone else in the nation that he blew it”.

    So, according to the Alaska Republican Party, if you are Hispanic (i.e. you don’t count), you might be offended, but if you are a “real Alaskan”, you’ll just chuckle. After all, old Don is such a colorful old coot.

    Young doesn’t need money from the national committee to rack up 60%+ margins, and the local party doesn’t see the problem. Young knows that as long as he maintains a rep for bringing the pork back to Alaska, he can basically say or do anything he wants and get away with it. After all, we can be bought.

  3. Andi Taggart says:

    Don’s gaffe doesn’t bother me one bit. Giving away the farm bothers me. It’s only a word! ONE word! You want embarrassed? This administration is the worst I’ve ever seen in my whole life in Alaska. Passing frivolous bills and giving the oilies OUR birthright, as stated in our constitution. No, Don can cuss like a sailor, as I do, and that’s just the way it is. This PC stuff is boring.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      This is NOT PC stuff.
      “Political correctness (adjectivally, politically correct; both forms commonly abbreviated to PC) is a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation…”
      It is an ethnic slur.
      Totally different critter. Always.
      Rep Young needs to stick a sock in it this time. This kind of crap goes well beyond cussing and does more than merely offend.
      I cuss way worse than my Pop did, the real sailor in the family, but cussing doesn’t necessarily include ethnic slurs.And never should from an elected official.

      Agree about this administration and current Legislature here at home.
      #^&$@!@ing buncha %&*#$!#$%s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. GaryVI says:

    I remember Don Young as a very young man when he first moved to Alaska in the late 50’s or very early 60’s. He lived and taught school in Ft Yukon (a small village in interior Alaska). When he visited Fairbanks (Alaska) during the junior dog mushing (sled dog racing) season he would sleep in the basement of my father’s house on College Road in a sleeping bag. Those are the humble beginnings for Don Young.

    Somewhere he must have forgot his humble beginnings and developed the arrogance of Washington DC with money and power. When I first met him about 53-54 years ago he didn’t have two nickels to rub together. I was just fresh out of high school when I met Congressman Young and he was just about 8 years older than me. It’s time for him to retire and be replaced with younger blood that wants to represent Alaska’s best interests instead of make a fool of himself.

    A lot of time has passed since those early days of Alaska and its Statehood. Now three of my four children are married to “wetbacks” as we all live in Latin America and I now have two “wetback” granddaughters. I deeply resent Congressman Young’s comments about the heritage of my son-in-law and my two daughters-in-law plus my grandchildren. At least my children are not feeding at the public trough and standing before the ethics committee to answer charges.

    He must have forgot his fathers farmland is located on land taken from the Mexicans during the war with Mexico that the USA created to land grab 40% of Mexico. Let’s just give back the land we took from Mexico and they wouldn’t have to cross the USA border to their land seeking a job.

  5. goI3ig says:

    Don Young’s top 10 excuses for his comments this week….

    #10. I thought that was genuine shipyard talk.
    #9. I thought I was clear that my father owned the ranch.
    #8 I thought what was said in Ketchikan stays in Ketchikan.
    #7 I was just checking to see if anyone is paying attention to me.
    #6 I just don’t think the GOP needs the Latino vote in Alaska.
    #5 I promise I’ll slip in an earmark for an upgrade to the Alamo.
    #4 I was only quoting a little understood section of Obamacare.
    #3 Shouldn’t you be more concerned about the little brown guys in North Korea?
    #2 I was only pointing out that we were job creators.

    And the #1 excuse for Don Young……My dad’s employment of those guys was an improvement. My grand pappy had a bunch of guys he owned to pick his tomatoes.

  6. Bigtoe says:

    Well, I’m not surprised. Really. As for Alaskan politicians, especially at the state and local level, we may or may not be the armpit of the universe…yet, but we don’t have the advantage Minnesota, Iowa and Texas have. Al least Michelle Bachmann, Steve King and Louie Gohmert aren’t their only representatives.

  7. mike from iowa says:

    Since Young claims to have been a rancher and since this thread has taken on a vaquero theme,maybe it is time for that old tomato poke to hit the Goodnight Trail into retirement,pretty pronto. Hurry up,compadre. The Lone Ranger will be on channel 266 on Dish Network at 5:P M mikey time. Can’t miss it. Even Tonto knows enough to not stir up potential friends and enemies. Geez you’d think a congressperson could calculate a person who got dipped in the Rio Grande in South Texas would have a dry shirt by the time they ever made to Alaska,a million miles from nowhere.

    • COalmostNative says:

      Wait… The Lone Ranger and Tonto solved The Great Tomato Rustling Caper?! How did I miss that episode?

      Have a great weekend, mudpups- Hi Ho Silver, away! 😉

  8. Mad as hell says:

    Oh goody. Now the outsiders will start asking us about Don Young instead of Sarah Palin. Out of the cow pie into the septic tank.

  9. lol... says:

    keep drinking that Don Young Koolaide…did you know he and Ted Stevens was trying to get Frank to not Reverse the Statutes of Limitations…he told them both “I am done fooling around” sounds like he got tired of hearing the whining from Don and Ted…yeah I know most think Frank is a focker face but he did good once!!!

  10. GoI3ig says:

    Poor Don is taking such a beating, it’s only fair to reflect on a few of his accomplishments.

    He consistently has the worst voting attendance record in congress. You can’t blame him for his vote. He rarely cast one.

    We’ll pause here to list his bills that have made it in to law in the past 40 years. (cue the crickets) Once again, you can’t blame Don for all those bad laws.

    He slid in one of the sweetest earmarks in history. Oh yea…that was for a road in Florida for a campaign contributor. Let’s skip that one.

    Oh wait….He did put the smack down on Sean Parnell. See? Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  11. GoI3ig says:

    Voters have short memories. This will be but a distant cobweb by the next election. Nobody remembers that Don Smith abused his office when he was an assemblyman. He threatened to have an APD officer fired for writing him a ticket since he was on the assembly. Oops…caught on tape.

    No worries. Wait a few years, no one remembers, and you recycle your political career.

    The list goes on and on. There is a reason the congressmen have the saying in D.C. you can get away with anything except getting caught with a dead girl, or a live boy. It seems to ring true.

  12. John says:

    Hey, at least he attended the “choose respect” rally. Where he told women that they should drink alone if they don’t want to be assaulted. I suppose anything he says is okay as long as he chooses to believe it is respectful.

  13. Zyxomma says:

    What percentage of the adult population of Alaska is registered, in any party? How many of them actually vote?

    • mike from iowa says:

      Stats from march 7,2013- 438 precincts-70208 D, 14872 L, 133860 R, 80941 non-partisan, and 176631 undeclared registered voters. For the general election 2012-for Dems,total RV 74233 and only 44280 voted. For rethugs,138725 RV and 92231 voted. I hope this is accurate.

      • Alaska Pi says:

        You got it Mikey!

        ( left you a spud info link on Snout post )

        • mike from iowa says:

          Muchas Gracias. Nice place to visit. Never seen so many miles of blooming spuds. Puts my 34 foot rows to shame. I guess I haven’t priced organic seed spuds before so I noticed they are nearly four times higher than certified seed here. Too late for this year so I will perhaps check them for next year. Getting garden fever. One tiller is headed for shop on Monday. Still frost in ground. Robins and Red Wing Blackbirds are back.

  14. mike from iowa says:

    I guess us out of state ex-farmers can be miffed at your dips#$% congressperson as well. You don’t “ranch” tomatoes. You don’t employ “wetbacks” to ranch them. You would have to employ “wetback vaqueros” to ranch them if it were possible to ranch tomatoes. To farm tomatoes you would need to hire illegal or undocumented,seasonal,farm-labor “wetbacks”. Please do not chastise me for using Young’s word for undocumented workers from South of the border. The only offense intended was towards your congressperson.

    • COalmostNative says:

      Ok, now I have this picture in my head of cowboys on horseback herding tomatoes… my last year’s Heritage Purples would’ve acted like cats and refused to cooperate 😉

      This just adds to the stereotype of Alaskan voters: electing legislators who okay cruise ships dumping human waste in their waterways, decimating the salmon industry, handing big checks to the oil industry…


      • slipstream says:

        It is a shame that the great free-range tomato ranchers of the 1890s found more and more barbed wire fences blocking the two- or three-hunderd mile tomato drives to the stockyards in Kansas City. Those were the days, my friend. That was real ranching. None of this mechanized harvester stuff. Vaqueros with nerves of steel driving those herds of tomatoes across raging rivers, getting them past the vast herds of hungry bison — some of them already holding bread, lettuce, and bacon, with a jar of mayo at the ready — in a heroic effort to feed America. By about 1910 the great tomato drives of my youth were only a memory.

        Which reminds me of the time my brothers and I were pushing one of the last great herds of cucumbers into Santa Fe, when we came around a corner and the cukes caught on the wind a whiff of garlic. Or maybe it was dill. What a stampede that was. But that is another story, for another day, and is not a tale you want your little ‘uns to hear.

  15. akmom says:

    I have never voted for him. Not one single time and I have voted every single borough, city, state, national election since I turned 18. There were some yrs when I could not stomach the Democrat candidate running against Don. The Valdez mayor from the 80’s comes to mind. But even then I picked Jim Sykes with the Green Party as a decent alternative. Don is way past his time. He needs to retire. Unfortunately I am jaded enuf to know that this state will just keep sending him to Congress until he voluntarily quits. But really who uses that slur these days? You have to be completely insensitive, tone deaf, and stupid. Shoot. Now I am depressed.

  16. slipstream says:

    This story is now on NBC news with the headline “GOP congressman uses ethnic slur to describe laborers”

    Yon Dung strikes again!

  17. AKMagpie says:

    He does seem to provide an embarrassment of poorly worded comments, but only when he opens his mouth. I do hope he gets voted out next time.

  18. Alaska Pi says:

    Oh, for crying out loud, sweet merry, and holy moley!
    C’mon rill Alaska- he’s not a “straight talker” or any of the other crap so many of you think he is when you color in the circle by his name every 2 years.
    He’s a doof, an unmitigated doof. Always has been, always will be.

    If I wasn’t so sure he is doof enough to think all persons of Hispanic heritage are “wetbacks”, regardless of their nationality (including Americans ) or work visa status , I’d say we ought to see if there was any way to prosecute him at this late date for being party to hiring of undocumented workers.

  19. John says:

    And yet he will win again by a wide margin because most people won’t vote and of those who do, too many will believe the lies told during the campaign.

    • yukonbushgrma says:

      I dunno, John ……… THIS time he just might have embarrassed enough out of even his GOP buddies. Remember, they’re the *new* GOP now, kinder, gentler and much less discriminatory. They’re starting to admit that something needs to be discussed about immigration — not just building double barbed-wire fences. They know they need the Latino vote. And Yon Dung just set them back a million years.

      Next election, if Repubs want to get someone credible elected, they just might — just might — decide that Mr. Dung ain’t the right guy for the job anymore.

      But then, maybe I’m just dreaming ………

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] why many, at least in the lower 48 were horrified when Congressman Don Young casually used the term wetbacks in an interview. It does not matter whether or not 60 years ago, before Young was a Congressman, if it was […]

  2. […] It turns out, that a certain John Boehner is in town. Yes, that one. The Speaker of the House. The Great Orange One. Our Fearless Weeper. You remember him, right? He stopped being an ineffective jackass long enough to lash out against Alaska’s lone Republican congressman Don Young back in March, when Don Young referred to the migrant tomato pickers on his father’s farm as “wetbacks.” […]

  3. […] also got our one and only seat in Congress up on the block again. Will anyone dare to take on Don “we used to have 50 or 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes” Young? Don “I’m under investigation by the feds yet again” […]

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