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According to FCAN, the group, "will gather outside the fundraiser and speak out about why they feel Congressman Young no longer represents them."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."