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Friday, Apr 20, 2018
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Bill Young, facing back pain, says, ‘I knew it was time’

Moments before undergoing another procedure to help alleviate decades of pain in his back, Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young said today his decision not to seek re-election had been brewing for years.

“There was no specific moment,” Young said from his room at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. “Just all of a sudden, I realized it was my time. I am going to have a couple of weeks of really having to focus on my back again.”

Young said the question of when to retire first arose for him decades ago when he attended a program with the late U.S. Sen. John C. Stennis, the Mississippi Democrat who, like Young, was defined in part by his leadership in military matters.

“I drove him home that night and he had announced his retirement,” Young recalled. “I said, ‘Senator, how do you know it is time? You are so busy. Still involved. Still doing things that are important.’ He said, ‘You will know it’s time.’ And all of a sudden, I knew it was time.’”

Young, the Republican from Indian Shores who is serving his 22nd term in the House, said he has suffered pain in his back ever since he was injured in the crash of a small plane during the 1970s.

“It never goes away,” he said.

But while Young will step down after his term expires in 2014, his wife aims to keep the seat in the family.

She said she will seek election as representative from Florida’s 13th Congressional District if the Democrat who has announced for the seat qualifies to run.

“If Jessica Ehrlich gets on the ballot, I am running against her,” said Beverly Young, the Congressman’s wife of 26 years.

Ehrlich, a St. Petersburg lawyer, lost to Young in the last election. Candidates can file qualifying papers to run for Congress as early as April 14 — six months before the fall 2014 elections.

“Bill has been Pinellas County for 50 years,” said Beverly Young, who was once tossed out of President George W. Bush’s State of the Union speech for wearing a “Support The Troops” t-shirt.

She objects to how Ehrlich has described her husband’s service.

“Democrats and Republicans both love him and she is saying things that are untrue, saying that he doesn’t care about the people in Pinellas County and doesn’t care about the troops. That really offends me.”

In an interview Wednesday, after news broke of Young’s retirement, Ehrlich said, “My first reaction is to thank him for his 43 years of service to his community. That doesn’t change the fact that Washington is paralyzed by the partisanship we’ve seen up there.”

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