Reaction to Bill Young's retirement announcement
House Speaker John Boehner: “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.”
Jeb Bush "Bill Young is a true American patriot. God will bless him for his service to our country and his support of enlisted men and women and veterans."
Sen. Bill Nelson: “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.”
Sen. Marco Rubio: "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 County, 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.”
Lenny Curry, chairman of 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."
Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa: “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.”
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of National Republican Congressional Committee: "For the past 50 years, Bill Young has been a terrific and tireless public servant for the people of Florida. Whether as a Florida State Senator or Member of Congress, Bill has worked each and every day to improve the lives of his constituents. As Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Bill has been committed to improving the lives of servicemen and women across our country, and we are forever grateful for his commitment. Many of us have looked up to Bill as a mentor, friend and role model, and as a result, he is widely respected and admired among his colleagues. As he and his family enter the next chapter of their lives, I wish them nothing but the best and thank him for his service.”
Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of DCCC: "The departure of the most senior House Republican should serve as a wake-up call to Speaker Boehner and House Republicans: if they continue to cave to the Tea Party’s radical demands and threaten the country’s financial stability, they will see even their own Members jump off their sinking ship. In 2014, the voters in Florida’s 13th district will have the chance to elect a problem-solving Democrat in this competitive district that twice elected President Obama.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami: “It has been a great privilege to serve with Bill in Congress. His determined work for his constituents, military families, Tampa Bay, and Florida are well-known and admired. He is a wealth of information and someone many turn to for advice and needed perspective. I will miss his valued contributions to our delegation and the Congress. Bill is a consummate gentleman and public servant, his legacy is one of service and dedication to Florida.”
Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland: “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.”
Rep. Tom Rooney: “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.”
Rep. Gus Bilirakis: “Bill has been a great leader for our state and the Tampa Bay area. For decades, he has placed the interests of his constituents before partisan politics. His distinguished record of public service, particularly on behalf of those in uniform and our military veterans, has greatly improved the lives of those he has served. He has been a close friend and a mentor, and I wish him the best in his retirement.
Rick Baker, former mayor of St. Petersburg. "He's been a remarkable public servant in every sense of the word. If we had 435 people like him up there Washington would be a lot better off. He has been singularly focused on what's best for our country and for our community. He is also a very humble man. I've never seen him ever talk to anybody like he thought he was any better than them."
State Sen. Jack Latvala: "He's been my idol ever since he's been in office. He'ss the kinda public official who epitomizes what public service should be. ... Look at his net worth. Bill Young never used his position for personal gain."
Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch: "We're very much of a Democratic family, but I remember the fist time I voted I asked my Dad who I should vote for, and he said, 'Bill Young.' That kind of showed me how special a person he is....I've been privileged to be the second generation in my family to work with him."
Gov. Rick Scott: “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.”
Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, chairman of House Armed Services Committee: "Today I learned that Chairman Bill Young, one of the great defenders of our military and our troops, is retiring. Bill has been a wonderful friend over the years. He is the House of Representatives' wise man on the mountain. When we lose Bill to a well deserved retirement, we also lose his years of knowledge and experience. He always put his country, and especially the military that he served in honorably and loved dearly, above personal gain and ambition. I cannot put into words how much I will miss him, but I can thank him for his decades of incredible service."
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn:
"We have never had a better champion for the military and specifically for MacDill Air Force Base than we had in Bill Young. I understand why he wants to retire, but I don’t know that we could ever replace him. ... I say this as a Democrat. I always supported Bill Young in spite of what my party wanted because I knew how good he was for this community and I knew what would have happened to MacDill Air Force Base had he not been there fighting for us."
"I can say with certainty: but for him and his service MacDill Air Force Base as we know it now wouldn’t exist. I know it because I was there. I was there in 1991 when he was fighting the base closure commission. I’ve been there with him every step of the way as he has continued to fight for additional assets at MacDill Air Force Base. I think the growth of SoCom and CentCom, the additional funding for the residential development at MacDill Air Force Base is largely because of Bill Young."
Buckhorn was surprised at the news and hadn't talked to Young, but said, "he took great offense at some of the personal attacks that were launched at him by the national Democratic Party, and some of that drove his decision to stay as long as he did. He wanted to go out on his terms and he deserves to go out on his terms."
"I think it will be a competitive seat."