Thursday, April 19, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Rep. C.W. Bill Young leaves remarkable legacy

For thousands of Pinellas residents born after the Beatles or who moved here after the Vietnam War, Rep. C.W. Bill Young was their only representative in the U.S. House. Mr. Young, who died Friday at age 82, was a steady presence through more than four decades of dramatic change in Tampa Bay and the nation. He leaves a remarkable legacy in the public projects he funded and the lives he touched.

Mr. Young was first elected to the House in 1970 and was the longest-serving Republican in Congress. He did not gravitate toward cable talk shows, and he was not a presence on Facebook or Twitter. He preferred reasoned discussion over shouted slogans. He raised relatively little campaign money and ran few television ads. Yet he only twice won re-election with less than 60 percent of the vote.

From MacDill Air Force Base to the University of South Florida to U.S. 19, Mr. Young brought home projects and programs worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The former House Appropriations Committee chair, and more recently the chair of the defense appropriations subcommittee, defended earmarks until they were banned. The nation's top military leaders depended on him to fund their priorities. But Mr. Young never lost touch with those he cared about most. He championed area veterans hospitals but demanded answers when they fell short. He and his wife, Beverly, spent days at the bedsides of wounded soldiers and often intervened on their behalf.

The best way to honor Mr. Young is for members of Congress to vote in the public interest rather than blindly follow either political party. He voted for the Clean Water Act of 1972 and to override President Richard Nixon's veto — and he voted to preserve the law in 2011 when most House Republicans wanted to gut it. He ensured that Congress protected the Gulf Coast from oil drilling, and he held firm when Republicans pushed for more drilling. He made news last year by changing positions and calling for the United States to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Mr. Young was the rare Republican who maintained that reducing the federal deficit required both spending cuts and new revenue. And he called on House Speaker John Boehner to stop demanding cuts to the Affordable Care Act, end the government shutdown and pass a clean spending bill. When that time finally came Wednesday, Mr. Young was hospitalized and unable to vote.

Over the years, we often disagreed with Mr. Young on policy issues. But we never questioned that his top priorities were his nation, its soldiers and Tampa Bay. He gave this region and Florida a thoughtful voice in the House's top leadership, and he leaves a void at home and in Washington that will be difficult to fill.

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Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has wasted months as a politically motivated scam masquerading as a high-minded effort to ask voters to improve the state’s fundamental document. The commission on Monday added amendments to the Nove...
Published: 04/16/18
Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Florida regulators have done far too little to make voter-approved medical marijuana widely available for patients suffering from chronic illnesses. A circuit court judge in Tallahassee ruled last week there is a price for that obstruction, finding t...
Published: 04/15/18
Updated: 04/16/18
Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Any movement on modernizing local transportation is welcome, even small steps like the million dollars the state recently approved to design a Tampa Bay regional transit plan.But the region won’t make any progress on transportation, its single most p...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Editorial: Fight harder on citrus greening

A new report by scientists advising the federal government finds no breakthrough discovery for managing citrus greening, a chronic disease killing Florida’s citrus industry. This should be a wake-up call to bring greater resources to the fight.The re...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Editorial: Floridians should focus more on health

A new snapshot of the nation’s health shows a mixed picture for Florida and the challenges that residents and the health care community face in improving the quality of life.Americans are living longer, exercising more and doing better at managing th...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18
Editorial: 5 key issues where Scott, Nelson differ in Senate race

Editorial: 5 key issues where Scott, Nelson differ in Senate race

Gov. Rick Scott kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign last week by reciting tired lines about career politicians and mischaracterizing himself as an outsider. That pitch may have worked during the tea party wave eight years ago, but now the Republican ...
Published: 04/10/18
Updated: 04/13/18