Congressman Bill Young, who represented Pinellas County in Congress for more than four decades, has died, according to his family. He was 82.
Here is a compilation of reactions to the death of Congressman Young.
President Barack Obama:
“Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Congressman C.W. Bill Young. For over 50 years Bill served the people of Florida, both in the state legislature and as the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives. He will be remembered for his advocacy and support for the armed forces, service members, and their families as well as his statesmanship and long history of working across the aisle to keep our country moving forward.”
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel:
“It’s only been a week since we began trying to imagine the House without Bill Young – an impossible task in its own right – and now he is gone. In our sorrow, we recall how not a day went by without a colleague seeking Bill’s counsel as he sat on his perch in the corner of the House floor. Looking out for our men and women in uniform was his life’s work, and no one was better at it. No one was kinder, too.”
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio:
“Floridians have lost one of the greatest public servants we’ve ever had in our state’s history. For over a half century, Bill fought tirelessly for the Tampa Bay region and to strengthen Florida’s role as a critical part of our national defense. Largely because of Bill Young, many of our nation’s brave men and women in uniform have called Florida home at some point in their careers, with many of them spending their golden retirement years here. Throughout Bill’s career, our military and veterans have had no greater champion than him. My thoughts and prayers are with Bill’s wife, Beverly, and their entire family.”
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner:
“”It’s only been a week since we began trying to imagine the House without Bill Young — an impossible task in its own right — and now he is gone. In our sorrow, we recall how not a day went by without a colleague seeking Bill’s counsel as he sat on his perch in the corner of the House floor. There was a good reason for this. Here was a man who had seen it all and accomplished much. Looking out for our men and women in uniform was his life’s work, and no one was better at it. No one was kinder too. I will miss Bill, as will countless others blessed by his life and service. To all those Floridians and Americans – especially his wife, Beverly, his family and friends – I extend the condolences of the whole House.”
Governor Rick Scott:
“Ann and I join all Floridians as we mourn the passing of Representative Bill Young. As Florida’s longest serving member of Congress, Bill will be remembered as a true statesman and champion for the Tampa Bay area. He served with eight US Presidents throughout his career, always putting the families of Florida first, and working across the aisle to find solutions.
“His work to support military families, our veterans, and his own service with the Army National Guard and as a reservist, will leave a lasting legacy. Representative Young will be missed by his constituents and our entire nation. Ann and I offer our support and prayers to his wife Beverly and his sons and grandchildren during this difficult time.”
Attorney General Pam Bondi:
“RIP Cong Bill Young. An advocate for veterans and Tampa Bay, and a great Floridian. Keeping Beverly and the Young family in my prayers.”
Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam:
“Florida lost a statesman tonight, in every sense of the word. Bill Young rose from humble beginnings, invented the modern Republican Party in Florida, was friend and counselor to U.S. and foreign leaders, and helped shape today’s military. Bill was a tireless supporter of our troops and made sure the support continued when they became veterans. He and Beverly never missed an opportunity to give comfort and support to the wounded and their families. He saved MacDill for Tampa Bay and saved the Everglades for all of us. His leadership aided our state in the aftermath of multiple hurricanes and rebuilt the beaches for the world to enjoy.
“I never once heard a cross word uttered by him or about him. Once, when a major vote was pending, and the vote was tight, Bill asked the White House Legislative Affairs director if he could speak personally with President Bush. The staffer walked out with me and shared that, as it was past 2:00 a.m., the President was asleep. What are you going to do, I asked? Wake him up for Mr. Young was the reply.
“Many will say or write over the next few days, ‘They don’t make them like Bill Young anymore.’ The truth is, they never did.”
Former Governor Charlie Crist, via Twitter:
“My prayers are with the family of Congressman Bill Young. He served our county, state and country with distinction.”
Former CFO Alex Sink:
“My thoughts and prayers are with Bill Young’s wife Beverly and his whole family. Congressman Young represented his district, state, and country with honor and accomplished so much for the people of Pinellas County and the entire Tampa Bay region. Congressman Young’s decades of service stand as a shining example of a public servant who was a true representative and advocate for his district, who was a champion for our brave veterans and men and women in uniform, and who was able to find common ground to achieve so many accomplishments in a less partisan time.”
Congressman Gus Bilirakis:
“Tonight, Florida and the Tampa Bay area lost a great leader and an even better friend,” said Bilirakis. “Chairman Young, who I always referred to as ‘Chairman’ because of the respect he commanded, was a mentor and someone I admired greatly for his wisdom and humility. I am extremely thankful that I was able to express my gratitude and admiration to him two nights ago when I visited with him at his bedside. I know he will be remembered for his pure and honest leadership on behalf of all Tampa Bay residents, especially its veterans and members of the armed services. I pray that God blesses Beverly, his children, his grandchildren and all of his loved ones with peace and comfort knowing that his memory will be eternal.”
Congressman Vern Buchanan, via Twitter:
“Bill Young was a mentor. He was an inspiration to so many bc he personified the most important virtue of public service-he did it for others.”
Congresman John Mica:
“Florida has lost an effective and powerful leader, and while one of our military and veterans’ strongest voices has been silenced, his legacy in support of American patriots will live on.”
Congressman Patrick Murphy:
“Congressman Young was a dedicated public servant, having served the great State of Florida for over 50 years. I was honored to serve with him in the House of Representatives. My thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones during this most difficult time.”
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen:
“Dexter and I offer our sincerest condolences to Beverly, Rob, Billy, Patrick, and the entire Young family. Bill was a valued member of our delegation, but, more importantly, a true friend. His kind and gentlemanly demeanor was a welcome change in Washington and his ability to give sage advice on almost any situation was nothing short of remarkable. As my fellow Floridian and House Appropriations Chair, we could always count on Congressman Bill Young to always be there for South Florida; helping with funding sources on important issues like dredging the Miami River, and saving Homestead Air Reserve Base after Hurricane Andrew, and again as Base Closure Commissions were circling overhead.
Bill was extremely knowledgeable on defense issues and we all looked to his expertise for guidance. His and Beverly’s dedication to our active military and veterans are legend as we hear the countless stories of those whose lives were touched by Bill. He was the embodiment of what a legislator should be: principled, honest, and a fierce fighter for his constituents. We will always keep the lessons of his years of service alive so that others may emulate this unforgettable champion of Florida.”
Congressman Dennis Ross:
“Bill dedicated so much of his life as a public servant. It has been a privilege to get to know him better as we’ve both represented central Floridians in Congress. Cindy and I extend our deepest condolences and prayers to Beverly, Rob, Billy, Pat, and the whole Young family during this incredibly difficult time.”
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
“I am saddened by the news of the passing of my friend, colleague, and fellow Floridian, Rep. Bill Young. At a time when Congress seems more divided than ever, Bill Young could be counted on to reach across the aisle and counsel cooperation. As Dean of the Florida delegation and a long time member and former Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Young worked to advance the needs of Floridians. A veteran of the Army National Guard, Congressman Young was a true advocate for our nation’s service members and veterans. He was also a longtime champion of biomedical research and worked throughout his career to prioritize funding for medical research. I remember fondly when I was first elected to the House of Representatives, Bill went out of his way to meet with me and share his years of insight on how to work effectively in Congress.”
Congressman Ted Yoho:
“While I did not have the honor of serving with Representative Young for as long as many of my colleagues, his strong commitment to our great state will be felt for many years to come. Florida suffers a true loss today and Carolyn and I send our thoughts and prayers to Beverly and the entire Young family during this very difficult time.”
Speaker of the Florida House Will Weatherford:
“I am saddened by the news of Bill’s passing. He was a tireless advocate for the people of Florida, our military and our veterans. Bill understood the unique challenges facing our members of the military and veterans because he was one of them, serving as a member of the Army National Guard and the reserves. During his more than 50 years in public service that brought him to the Florida Senate and the U.S. Congress, Congressman Young always put the interests of his constituents first. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Beverly and their family.”
President of the Florida Senate Don Gaetz:
“For more than 50 years, Congressman Young dedicated his life to serving the people of Florida in Tallahassee and in our nation’s capital. As a young man, he took standing for your principles to a new level, literally standing by himself on the floor of the State Senate as the lone Republican voice in Tallahassee. As a member of the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Young will long be remembered for his dedication to our nation’s active duty military and our veterans.”
Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto, via Twitter:
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Congressman Bill Young this evening. He served Florida, and the country, with great honor.”
Senator Jeff Brandes, via Twitter:
“Heartbroken for the family of my friend and mentor Bill Young. Blessed to know he is in the hands of a loving God.”
Senator John Thrasher, via Twitter:
“My thoughts & prayers are w/the family of Cong Bill Young. FL lost a true statesman tonight. Our state & nation are better bc of his service.”
Representative Larry Ahern:
“We mourn the passing of our friend and selfless servant of the people Congressman Bill Young. A kinder, caring, gentleman I have never known. Godspeed And Thank You for your faithful service.”
Representative Matt Gaetz, via Twitter:
“Florida will forever be in the debt of Congressman Bill Young. His legacy of service is eternal.”
Representative Seth McKeel, via Twitter:
“Florida has lost a gentleman, a true leader and a great public servant. Our prayers are with the family of Congressman Young.”
Representative Rich Nugent:
“For over forty years, Bill Young has been one of America’s strongest advocates. He has worked tirelessly to better this country and to look out for all Americans — most especially our troops. He was always a gentleman and to so very many people, a true American hero. I sought his counsel every chance I could get. His insight on the issues before us was second to none. His service to this country, his good nature, his strong character, and his tireless wisdom will be sorely missed by all of us. My prayers go out to his family and his many, many dear friends.”
Representative Dana Young, via Twitter:
“Condolences to the family of Cong. Bill Young. He lived his life to serve Floridians, and his passing leaves a void that no one man can fill.”
St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster:
“Tonight, our country lost a national treasure; our state lost its finest representative; our city lost its biggest advocate; and me – a friend and mentor. God bless Congressman C. W. Bill Young, and his entire family. On behalf of a grateful city, we love you. My thoughts and prayers are with you.”
St. Petersburg Mayoral candidate Rick Kriseman:
“Bill Young made our country and our community better and did so without compromising his integrity or convictions. He set a standard for us all. My family and I express our condolences to the congressman’s family and wish them peace and healing in the days to come.”
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn:
“Bill Young’s love for his country and our community was best shown in his dedication to public service. Tonight, we lost a champion who never forgot where he came from and always had Tampa Bay at the top of his agenda.
“He was a dedicated husband, father, and grandfather. He was also a man who served our community in more ways than one: first in uniform and later in public office. Bill Young represented what a public servant should be. Country before party, progress before partisanship, and service above self. He was my friend, a friend to Tampa, and a friend to anyone who has worn this country’s uniform.
“My thoughts and prayers tonight are with the Young family.”
Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant:
“Congressman Bill Young was a dedicated public servant and a true gentleman. For over 40 years, Congressman Young’s dedication to Florida and consistent civility has set the standard for all of Florida public servants. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many close friends today. Let us honor his service and the long legacy of accomplishment for our state and our country that he leaves behind.”
Florida GOP Chairman Lenny Curry:
“I, and the Republican Party of Florida, mourn the death of Congressman Bill Young. Over five decades of public service, Bill Young has been a constant champion for his constituents and for the state of Florida. He has always stood up for the Sunshine State and fought for the best interests of its citizens. His dedication, his leadership, and his friendship will be sorely missed. His wife Beverly and their three children, Billy, Patrick and Robbie, are in our thoughts and prayers today.”
Pinellas GOP Chairman Michael Guju:
“In the life of any country, few men alter the course of history. Bill Young was one of those men. He rose from a young man who did not have much to a man who epitomized the American dream, including a faithful wife, Beverly, and a loving family.
“The true measure of a man is what he does with what life gives him and how he comports himself in difficult times. His story and values are quintessential American. He rose from modest beginnings in Pennsylvania and moved to Pinellas County as a teenager with an uncertain future.
“It is said we make a life by what we give. Bill gave more than most and touched countless lives through his leadership and selfless service. By any standard, Bill was the best our country has to offer. His integrity, vision and commitment were respected by all. He will be remembered for his service to his community and his ability to inspire others to find common ground.
“President Reagan put it best when he said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one [who] gets people to do the greatest things.”
“Bill inspired us to be better. Using his keen mind, approachable style and dedication to America, Bill worked with others to make the impossible possible, the unthinkable thinkable.
“Finding common ground and serving his community are the hallmarks of Bill Young. We will all remember him as an unparalleled leader and an exceptional man who lifted our nation and our community.”
Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg:
“A powerful advocate for protecting Florida’s environment, Congressman Young was a champion of restoring and protecting America’s Everglades. As Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Young succeeded in winning approval for millions of dollars to invest in Everglades restoration.”
Tampa Chamber of Commerce:
“The Tampa Bay area lost a tireless fighter with the passing of Congressman Young. For decades, Congressman Young advocated for the needs of our community, particularly as it relates to supporting MacDill Air Force Base, the defense industry and marine research. He leaves behind tremendous shoes to fill. Our thoughts are with his wife Beverly and their family during this time.”
“I have lost my mentor and one of the most important men to ever enter my life. Bill Young will never be replaced. He is the reason I am where I am. I am a Republican because of Bill Young. I am a successful professional because of Bill Young. Most importantly, I get to kiss Reis every morning and be his father because of Bill Young. Rest in Peace Boss…I will see you again…I will always love you.”
Chik-fil-A 4th Street North, via Facebook:
“Rest in peace Rep. C. W. Bill Young…Our thoughts and prayers are with the Young family.”