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Dana Young cited as “Republican force” in Roll Call

in Statewide/The Bay and the 'Burg by

In Tallahassee, Tampa Rep. Dana Young has long been considered a pol whose career may transcend the House.

Combine her political bloodline (grandfather was Senate President, uncle served in the House) and prowess on the campaign trail (soundly defeated all comers in a swing seat since 2010) and it’s not hard to see Young has more juice than the average mid-bencher.

That line of thinking recently got national attention when CQ Roll Call’s Elvina Nawaguna profiled the House Majority Leader and Senate District 18 candidate for a recent installment of “The Newspaper of Capitol Hill”‘s Influential Women feature.

“Young is an attorney and conservative power-broker who has political ambitions in her home state,” writes Nawaguna.

After taking hard-right stands on both LGBT issues and immigration in moderate-leaning coastal Tampa Bay  — “You can’t get tough enough,” Young said about illegal immigrants, calling for an Arizona-style law in 2010:

She garnered 56 percent of the vote and then was re-elected twice, running unopposed each time.

Young moved into the leadership ranks and then Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli chose her as majority leader.

“She has the ability to be firm in her principles while still being able to find compromise with other members,” he said.

She has sponsored more than 20 bills that became law.

Mark Pafford, the Democratic Leader in the Florida House, said he disagrees with Young on many issues, but appreciates her willingness to talk with her colleagues across the aisle and help to create a collegial atmosphere.

Nawaguna acknowledges Young is heading into a potentially difficult election against Democratic lawyer Bob Buesing, who took her to task for her unapologetically pro-gun stances. “I want to send kids to school. She wants to make sure they get guns when they get there,” Buesing told Roll Call.

But in a year of apportionment when redistricting is forcing many state Republicans into difficult Senate matchups, the only we know of getting Washington, D.C. ink is Young.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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