U.S. Rep. Bill Young (R FL-13)
St. Petersburg, Florida -- Representative C.W. Bill Young, currently the longest-serving Republican member of Congress, announced he will not run for re-election next year.
Young, 82, cited several factors for his retirement, including health and his desire to spend more time with his family.
Young was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1971, and represents Florida's 13th district, which covers Pinellas County. He is one of Florida's most influential and longest-serving members of Congress.
The congressman has been a longtime member of the House Appropriations Committee where he focused on military spending. Young and his wife, Beverly, frequently visited ailing service members at hospitals in the Washington area.
In recent years, Young has become increasingly frail and has relied on a wheelchair. Young cited his health and a desire to spend more time with his family in telling the newspaper he won't run for another term.
"It's a loss of a legend," said St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster following Young's announcement.
"He brought a lot of money, a lot of things back to this community," added St. Pete Mayoral challenger Rick Kriseman.
Following the announcement Wednesday, several fellow Florida lawmakers from both sides of the aisle released statements praising Young's decades of public service:
Gov. Rick Scott (R): "As Florida's longest serving Congressman, we appreciate Congressman Bill Young's more than 50 years of service to Florida families. Throughout his career, Congressman Young has fought to make sure Washington acted in the best interests of the brave men and women who serve in our military. His unwavering dedication to Pinellas County and the Sunshine State will be missed in Washington."
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL): "I thank Bill Young for all of his years of dedicated public service. He was always someone who approached solutions in a bipartisan way. He will be missed."
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL): "Floridians owe Bill Young a debt of gratitude for his 53 years of service to our state and country. Bill has fought tirelessly for the interests of Pinellas Country, St. Pete and the Tampa Bay area in the state legislature and U.S. Congress by helping to strengthen our state's defense industry and creating thousands of jobs.
"Additionally, no one has fought harder for the servicemen and women in this country and for returning veterans than Bill and his wife, Beverly. Bill is a true statesman whose wisdom, commitment and expertise will be sorely missed in Congress. Jeanette and I wish Beverly and Bill all the best as they begin the next chapter of their life."
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL 11): "I join our neighbors across the Tampa Bay area and Florida in lauding Congressman Bill Young's long-time service in Congress and his dedication to our community, especially his passion for our military members, veterans and their families. Congressman Young and his wife, Beverly, have left a tremendous legacy in not only advocating for MacDill Air Force Base and our war fighters, but also the families who provide our soldiers with the unwavering support and sacrifice they need to serve our country.
"He also has left his mark in numerous areas including the University of South Florida, Bay Pines Medical Center, St. Petersburg College, and Tampa Bay Water. It has been a privilege to serve alongside Congressman Young, who is one of the most honorable members of Congress ever to serve in the body."
U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL 15):"I remember I first met Bill in 1981 when I was a legislative aide in Tallahassee. He was and continues to be one of the most respected people in the community and in Congress. Bill has devoted his life to public service, and has worked tirelessly for more than 40 years to represent Floridians in Washington, D.C. Cindy and I send our best wishes to Bill and Beverly."
U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL 17): "Bill Young is without question the leader of the Florida delegation in Congress. His wealth of knowledge and experience have served our entire state well, and have made him a mentor to many others in Congress, myself included. I have often looked to Bill for guidance, because you can always count him to do the right thing for our state, our country, and our troops and veterans.
"As chairman of the Defense Appropriations Committee, Bill has fought to keep our nation safe and to provide the best support possible for our troops and their families. Throughout his long career, he has been a leader in bringing economic development and jobs to southwest Florida. Bill is a true statesmen and an unwavering voice of reason and respect, and his service will be deeply missed. It has been an honor to serve with him, and I wish him and his family all the best."
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D): "The entire Tampa area will lose an advocate in Congressman Young when he retires next year. From his support for the University of South Florida to MacDill Air Force Base to the TIGER grant for our Riverwalk, Congressman Young always fought the good fight when it came to his constituents.
In 1991, I watched him lead the effort to save MacDill AFB from the Base Closure Commission, and his support for MacDill has never wavered since. Much of what MacDill has become can be attributed to the work of Bill Young.
The men and women who serve our country are a passion for Bill and Beverly Young. We will always remember their quiet and unwavering support of our troops."
"While he technically did not represent Tampa, he always had Tampa Bay's best interest at heart."
Lenny Curry, Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida: "I want to congratulate Congressman C.W. Bill Young on an extraordinary, five-decade career in public service for Florida. After starting his political career in the Florida State Senate from 1961 to 1970, Young has now honorably served in the U.S. House of Representatives for over 40 years and is currently the longest-serving Republican member of Congress. Congressman Young always stood up for the Sunshine State and fought for the best interest of all Floridians. The Republican Party of Florida and I thank him for his dedication to his constituents and wish him well in the next chapter of his life."
See Also: Baker, Welch among those who could run to replace Young
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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