Democrats failed to find a candidate to challenge Republican David Jolly for the congressional seat long held by the late C.W. Bill Young, but they may have one lined up for 2016: Beverly Young, the congressman's widow who campaigned for Jolly earlier this year.
"I am absolutely going to run against David in 2016. I'd do it now if I could. If I'd known that the Democrats wouldn't put anyone up on that ballot, I'd have been there myself this time. I thought they had a candidate. I wouldn't have been ready. But I would have run anyway," Mrs. Young said Tuesday night in an interview. She is angry about the way Jolly fired her late husband's congressional staffers and feels he has turned one of her sons, Patrick, against her.
"This county just can't fall to lobbyists and their deceit and manipulation. I'm not going to just sit back and have all Bill's hard work just trashed to inside the Beltway politics. Ugh."
Jolly, a former senior adviser to Rep. Young who was viewed almost as a member of the Youngs' family, is no longer speaking to Mrs. Young after she publicly criticized him for treating her husband's former staffers poorly.
"I'm not a politician. I'm not going to put on high heels and a dress and try to convince people that I'm what they want," said Mrs. Young, who has long been a fierce — and unpolished and undiplomatic — advocate for veterans.
"I just think that the person in there now is doing a terrible job."
She said she was broke by late last year, after her husband's expensive funeral and a delay in receiving the benefits he accrued after more than four decades in Congress.
She wrote to 10 congressmen for help, only two responded.
"I told them I really needed that money. I was getting panicky. I told them, 'I'm not okay.' Bill had been in office for 43 years, it wasn't like they didn't know who I was. I called the speaker of the House four times. He never returned my calls. So I called Nancy Pelosi and told her, 'I'm in trouble.' By the end of the day, she had all the agencies calling me. She's the only one that made that happen."
Scott: I'm no scientist
Florida Gov. Rick Scott won't say whether he thinks man-made climate change is real and significant.
"I'm not a scientist," Scott said when asked about global warming during a Tuesday stop in Miami. Scott then talked about money for flood control and Everglades restoration.
Scott's refusal to weigh in on the issue contrasts with his position in 2011, when he said, "I've not been convinced that there's any man-made climate change. . . . Nothing's convinced me that there is."
So is Scott repositioning himself now, believing more in man-made climate change? He wouldn't say.
"I'm not a scientist," Scott repeated, noting again his environmental record.
Scott's new position resembles that of another top Florida Republican office holder, Sen. Marco Rubio. Rubio, too, says he's not a scientist and he won't answer the question about whether he believes humans are causing the planet to warm.
Climate scientists, an estimated 97 percent of whom say man-made climate change is real and significant, point to data showing the oceans and the upper-level atmosphere are heating, and the overall trend of all temperature readings in the last century are climbing.
A recent national climate-change report indicated that Florida will be exceptionally vulnerable if the seas continue to rise.
Here's the question-and-answer with Scott:
Q: Do you believe man-made climate change is significantly affecting the weather, the climate?
Scott: "Well, I'm not a scientist. But let's talk about what we've done. Through our Division of Emergency Management — the last few years, three years — we put about, I think, $120 million to deal with flooding around our coast. We also put a lot of money into our natural treasures, the Everglades, trying to make sure all the water flows south. So we're dealing with all the issues we can. But I'm not a scientist."
Q: In 2011 or 2010, you were much more doubtful about climate change. Now you're sounding less doubtful about man-made climate change because now you're not saying "Look, I doubt the science." Now you're saying: "I'm not a scientist." Am I right in guessing that?
Scott: "Well, I'm not a scientist. But I can tell you what we've accomplished. We put a lot of effort into making sure that we take care of our natural treasures — the Everglades, making sure water flows south, any flooding around our coast. So we're doing the right thing."
Q (asked by citizen-activist): So do you believe in the man-made influence on climate change?
Scott: "Nice seeing you guys."
Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald contributed to this report.