Protesters Target Florida Congressman

Members of the Florida Consumer Action Network will be protesting today outside a private fundraiser for Republican Rep. C.W. Bill Young.

Local U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young has come under a significant amount scrutiny this election cycle for interactions, or in some cases lack thereof, with his St. Petersburg and Pinellas County constituents. 

In July, a video of Young telling a protester to "get a job" after being asked about raising minimum wage went viral. Young later said he did not understand the man's question. 

Earlier this month, after a planned candidates forum in the same building as Young's office, his Nov. 6 Democratic opponent Jessica Ehrlich blasted him for skipping out on the forum and attending Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan's campaign stop the next day in Oldsmar. 

Her camp issued a statement following the Seminole forum:

"Last night, Bill Young ducked yet another public debate but today he found the time to speak behind closed doors at a member's only reception. To date, this makes three missed opportunities for Young to engage in the democratic process by discussing the issues most important to the people of Pinellas." 

Last week, Young sent his son to stand-in for him during another candidate's forum in Gulfport. This time, Ehrlich introduced herself and refused to debate her opponent's son. That left Billy Young sitting at the forum table by himself. "I feel like Clint Eastwood," he said. 

This afternoon, while Rep. Young is attending a private fundraiser at a local residence, 900 Park Street N in St. Pete, he will be met by protesters from the Florida Consumer Action Network, or FCAN. 

According to FCAN, the group, "will gather outside the fundraiser and speak out about why they feel Congressman Young no longer represents them." The group is planning to meet at 4:30 p.m.

This week, FCAN released a statement about Young:

"Not only does Congressman Young refuse to meet with his constituents, he refuses to attend candidate forums or debates as well ... the last time Congressman Young agreed to debate an opponent was 20 years ago. Yet he has no problems lending his ear to wealthy campaign contributors, as he will do on Tuesday at a fundraiser held by one of his millionaire supporters."

Monday night, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Young is "suspicious" that members of FCAN and the Occupy Movement could be stalking him or even burglarizing his home. However, reports indicate Young's daughter and police gave differing accounts of the burglaries.

According to the Times

"... the 81-year-old congressman has his suspicions. He's not looking at his Democratic Party opponent, Jessica Ehrlich. Instead, in two of the three interviews, he named both the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Florida Consumer Action Network as his suspects, explaining: "The Occupiers are after me."

However, Indian Shores police say they haven't seen signs of any break-ins at Young's condominium this year."

Red September 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Is this guy fit to debate ? He may not be up to it, bless his heart.
RetiredBoomer September 25, 2012 at 12:01 PM
A few months ago, sent an e-mail asking his office a question assking about his position on an issue. Response was condescending and demeaning and never even tried to answer the question. Lost my vote that day. He has been in Congress too long to care about anyone but himself and maintaining the power and pleasantries that come with the job.
Polisciguy September 25, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Feels like we have a "weekend at Bernie's (Billy's)" sequel in the making.
Dharma September 25, 2012 at 01:08 PM
as i stated its time for him to get a new job. his actions arent that of one who has that extra push to take for the people he has been able to do that in the past for. as much as i like this person work for seniors and he has always stepped in for them. he thought line has changed and shifted to being insulting and not beale to say he made a mistake...
jjinfl September 25, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Let's just leave this man alone. If you lived in our area, you'd know that he is a man who cares about us and our country. He's been reliable and honest for years and does not need to be annoyed by protest groups just to get rid of him. I have never known him to be disinterested, fail to return a call, or have impolite people manning his office. He's always behaved like a gentleman. He did not go to this meet and greet event because he had votes in Washington they neede him to be present for. He was doing his job as he should. Jessica and her group of protesters should get off his case, and run a positive campaign of her own.
Dadhot September 25, 2012 at 02:04 PM
The "bless his heart" comment and "reliable and honest for years" comment lie at the heart of Washington's gridlock. Similar feelings across the country lead to the re-election of "go along to get along" Congressmen --Democrats and Republicans alike--who are more beholden to getting re-elected than the interests of their constituents. In this case, Young has been outright disrespectful to us constituents--this is not the first time he has "ducked" debates, and he almost sounds boastful that he doesn't need to dirty his hand dealing with us voters. We don't need more such "representation" from either here or other parts of the country.
Joshua Streeter September 25, 2012 at 03:12 PM
No, he shouldn't debate her. Not if he wants to get reelected. Obviously, he knows how to get reelected. However, does that mean he's a good congressman? How is congress's approval rating at 12% collectively, yet they all seem to get nearly 50% of our votes?
S. Ripley September 25, 2012 at 03:27 PM
He knows how to get reelected. All good congressmen do. Get federal dollars spent in your district. Those that do, keep their job, those that don’t, don’t. Debates, policy positions, voting records are all irrelevant. This applies equally regardless of party.
JDMcC September 25, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Sure. He really seems to have his ear to the ground, doesn't he. I mean, not meeting with constituents, for example. Who cares, right? He's only representing us in Congress, so why should he care to talk to anyone in his district or listen to what any of us has to say? The nerve of us to think that Young should be responsive to our concerns! For shame! Yeah, leave him alone. Let's leave him to BE alone by voting him out of office!
Red September 25, 2012 at 09:59 PM
If the poor soul knew when to retire he might have.Look how many have been "led to the vote" in congress over the years. he needs to take his bow, receive our thanks and let another take over. Dadhot , he just doesn't know when to leave.
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