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Bill Young, Longest-Serving Congressional Republican, to Retire

Image: Bill Young, Longest-Serving Congressional Republican, to Retire

Wednesday, 09 Oct 2013 02:25 PM

 

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Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young, the longest-serving Republican in Congress, announced that he won’t be running for a 23rd term in the U.S. House.

Young, 82, will end his congressional career after his current two-year term ends in January, 2015, said spokesman Harry Glenn.

“It’s my time” to leave Congress, Young said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he’s recovering from a back injury.

“I don’t know that I would pick out one thing. It’s a lot of things. My family, my job, my rehabilitation from my back,” he said.

Partisan gridlock also was a factor, Young told the newspaper. “I’m a little disappointed,” he said. “It seems there’s too much politics. It’s a different Congress.”

First elected in 1970, he’s been an advocate for increased government spending on medical care, from boosting immunization rates to increasing research on Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. In 1986, he helped create a national registry for bone-marrow donors -- a program now named for him.

House Speaker John Boehner released this statement:

“Bill Young is the dean of the Florida Congressional delegation, a tireless voice for our men and women in uniform and America’s national security, and a dear friend. Since 1970, he has served with distinction in the People’s House - and both the House and the people are better for it. I thank him for his service, and I will miss him.”

Young was chairman of the Appropriations Committee from 1999-2005, and never hesitated to point out that was the last time the government ran a surplus.

He represents a district that includes Clearwater and most of St. Petersburg, Florida. In 2012, the constituents who returned him to office also backed President Barack Obama, 50 percent to 49 percent, making it one of just 17 districts nationwide that year that voted for Obama and a Republican congressman. Democrats need a 17-seat gain for a majority and surely will be targeting this district in 2014.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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