Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Politics

U.S. House minority whip stumps for Rep. C.W. Bill Young challenger Democrat Jessica Ehrlich

ST. PETERSBURG — Jessica Ehrlich is the latest Democrat to attempt to unseat U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores. Young has fended off Democrats before — he's held the seat since 1971.

At least one national Democrat, though, thinks Ehrlich has a chance: Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. The Democratic House minority whip visited Ehrlich's campaign office Wednesday morning to discuss Medicare with Ehrlich and a small group of Pinellas County seniors.

Hoyer cast the 2012 elections as a stark choice on the role of government in society.

"There is a real, very substantive difference in the approaches of the two parties … frankly, a chasm of difference," he said.

Republican proposals for Medicare, Hoyer said, would move the program to private insurers while leaving the sickest seniors on traditional Medicare and driving up costs.

Young's name wasn't mentioned during the forum, but afterward Ehrlich said voters were ready for a change.

"He's now been in office for half a century, and his views and what he's doing really don't represent the values of people in Pinellas County," she said. "He's voted twice now for this budget that would end, essentially, Medicare as we know it."

Ehrlich, a 38-year-old attorney and St. Petersburg native, worked in Washington for former Florida Republican Rep. Clay Shaw, as an aide on the Social Security subcommittee of Ways and Means. She then worked for Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts on the financial services committee.

Hoyer called Young, 81, "a wonderful person and a good friend of mine. I like Bill Young. But this is not about personalities. This is about two different visions and two different policies for how we grow jobs, build America, continue to provide security for our seniors, our children and people at risk."

Young, meanwhile, gave the Tampa Bay Times this statement through staff: "I've told Steny for years how great Pinellas County is. I'm glad he got to visit." Young's office also pointed out that the Times' fact-checking website PolitiFact rated the statement that Republicans voted to end Medicare as the "Lie of the Year."

Since then, Democrats like Ehrlich have softened their rhetoric to include more qualifiers like ending Medicare "as we know it."

Hoyer is on a swing through Florida for Democratic candidates: He's also meeting with Val Demings (challenging Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden), Keith Fitzgerald (challenging Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota) and Patrick Murphy (challenging Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation).

Ehrlich is competing for the Democratic nomination against Nina Hayden, an attorney and former Pinellas County School Board member. Ehrlich and Hayden, 37, are scheduled to debate June 5 at a meeting of the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club.

Comments
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18
Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

With six months to go before the Nov. 6 election, Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell on Monday dropped her bid against Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard for the at-large District 2 seat.Caudell said she decided she’d better be better suited f...
Published: 05/14/18