Before his death on this day in 1983, Milton R. Young had represented the citizens of North Dakota in the United States Senate for nearly thirty-six years.
When he retired in January of 1981, Young held the distinction of longest continuous service with the most seniority of any Republican in the history of the US Senate. In recognition, shortly before his retirement, the Democrat-controlled Senate elected Young as President pro tempore for one day.
But longevity can also be a liability in the political arena, as it was for the Senator during his last re-election campaign in 1974. Running at the age of 76, opponents used his age as an issue. Senator Young responded with a television commercial that showed him breaking a one-inch board with a karate chop. The election was close, but he defeated the Democratic candidate, William Guy.
Written by Christina Sunwall
Senate Doc. No. 98-12, Memorial Addresses and Other Tributes in the Congress of the United States on the Life and Contributions of Milton R. Young, Ninety-eighth Cong., First sess., 1983.