Activists protest outside of Bill Young fundraiser in St. Pete

Outside the fundraiser, the activists would have none of that.


"Rather than making up stories about Occupiers or FCAN people breaking into his house, which are entirely fictitious and totally without merit, he needs to get out and talk to the people he's supposed to be representing," Stemm added.


In the Times article, Young also says he is on his guard now after activist and constituent Pepe Kovanis approached him on the 4th of July about raising the minimum wage. Young retorted to Kovanis that he should "get a job," in a video that went viral.


Responding to that story on Tuesday today was Jessica Ehrlich, his Congressional District 13 Democratic opponent who is growing frustrated that Young refuses to engage in any debates with her, six weeks before the election. In a statement she said, "If Congressman Young wants to earn a 43rd year in Congress he needs to stop confusing voters with stalkers."


She added, "If Congressman Young had held a town hall meeting or attended a debate, his constituents would not need to approach him to find out his positions. After four decades in Congress, Bill Young needs to explain his vote to 'voucherize' medicare. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee that controls Washington spending, he needs to answer for our record budget deficit. And with thousands of Pinellas County voters struggling in this economy, his economic plan needs to be more than 'get a job.'"


"If you literally can't show up to listen, you can't represent," said Fawn Weaver, a Gulfport resident who says she voted for Young one time about ten years ago.


One reason Young has been consistently re-elected in a changing congressional district that supported Barack Obama four years ago is that many Democrats continue to vote for him every two years. When asked why she thinks that's the case, Weaver said it's all about name recognition.


"I think that it's also that the Democratic party hasn't gotten someone out front and center and given them the name recognition. It's scary to me how many Democrats don't know who Jessica (Ehrlich) is. It's very easy to be a lazy voter and say 'I know his name.'"


Some protesters were less charitable. Seth Bestulic owns a computer repair company in Pinellas. He says he's weary of Young supporting defense contractors and tax cuts for the wealthy, but doesn't support small businesses.


"I believe that if he can no longer fulfill these duties, and can no longer hold to the responsibilities of his office, in representing the people of his district, then he should step down. Whether the reason is advanced age, or the reason is incompetence, it's just he's someone we no longer need representing us."


The protest called for by FCAN is one of many the activist group has conducted this summer and now into the fall in targeting the GOP incumbent. Though not aligned with the Ehrlich campaign, the two parties are working hand in hand in trying to show that the 38-year-old Democrat is a viable replacement. But that could still be a tall order because of the fact that she has never run for office before.

  • Bill Young critic Gregg Stemm began the news conference

While supporters of Pinellas Congressman Bill Young were driving into the waterfront estate of Fazal Fazlin in St. Petersburg for a fundraiser Tuesday afternoon, approximately 20 protesters held a news conference outside, denouncing Young for a variety of transgressions, including his conservative voting record and his refusal to not only communicate with some of his constituents, but also for his reluctance to debate his Democratic challenger, attorney Jessica Ehrlich.

"Would you like a Congressman that actually listens to you?" asked Greg Stemm to begin the news conference. "Forty-two years is enough. Mr. Young can't seem to get out of his office to come to any kind of public forum where the public can question him, ask him about his policies. He can't show up for a single debate forum. And yet he's able to come to one of the 1 percenters to raise money."

The demonstration came on the same day that the Tampa Bay Times reported on the unusual situation of Congressman Young complaining about his condominium being broken into twice this year, despite the fact that the Indian Shores police deny awareness of any such event.

The article quotes Young as naming both the Occupy movement and the Florida Consumer Action Network (FCAN) as the culprits. "The Occupiers are after me," the 81-year-old Representative complained.

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