Jessica Ehrlich on Bill Young, a woman's right to choose and when (or if) the U.S. should go to war for humanitarian reasons

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Asked whether she supports a bill proposed in the House that calls for raising the minimum wage from it's current $7.25 an hour to $10 (and which Congressman Young now infamously responded to the question by Pepe Kovanis with an admonition to "get a job)," Ehrlich responded:

"I support legislation that allows people to have a living wage so that they can go forward and pay for a loaf of bread and gallon of milk and a tank of gas, and that's really what I think anyone in this country wants. That's the main point. It's also the way he spoke to a constituent, because even if Bil Young disagrees with that basic assumption that people would like to make a living wage in this country, that's not a handout. A wage is not a handout. It' s not where you have to attack a constituent for asking a question. We are allowed to have civility within our government. And within our society we're allowed to disagree, but we have to treat each other with respect."

On the idea of the U.S. getting involved in Syria to stop the bloodshed in what is turning into a civil war (an idea being pushed by John McCain and not too many others on Capitol Hill) - "Right now I feel very comfortable in the way that the President and Secretary of State Clinton have been working and operating on trying to reduce the number of troops in skirmishes that could lead to more loss of American life (overseas)."

But Ehrlich says if it were not for the U.S. intervening in World War II, there's a possibility that she wouldn't be alive today. "My background is that my grandparents and father were Holocaust survivors, and we lost the majority of my family because we had a very long time to get into World War II, because we weren't going to go in for humanitarian reasons. ......There are atrocities that happen in this world... My grandfather was liberated from Dachau and I support our troops completely, because without them, I would not be here at all."

On abortion rights: "I don't want to have Washington involved in my discussions between me as a woman and my doctor it should not be an issue at all and I think we can make that argument clearly and succinctly and we'll just make it again and again and again and I think it's horrible that we have to continue to make it because it was made in my mother's generation but you gotta keep doing it, obviously."

On compromising to get things done in Washington: "That's the way that we get things done. We can talk from here to we're blue in the face about how we want to change things, but if we can't up there and make it happen, then it won't happen. And that's what we're seeing right now, and part of that is the divisiveness. People going to the complete far right and completely to the far left running on messages of hate and that they're not going to compromise. We have the greatest system of government in the world, and historically it has been. We have democracy and freedom, but the system only works as well as the people that we elect to represent us. And if we're going to continue to send people to Congress not for the right reasons, we're not going to have a functioning system. It's up to us as voters.."

About Bill Young getting congressional funding in the past to replenish Pinellas County beaches: "He says 'I'm replenishing the beaches'..we need a lot more focus than just on a little beach replenishment here. What he's done really is given us some scraps off the table locally as a community. Meanwhile he's bringing tens of millions of dollars to companies who hire his children and his family..."

Ehrlich says after the August 14 primary she hopes that Young will agree to debate her, something he hasn't done with a Democratic party opponent in a long time.

Last Thursday night District-13 Democratic Congressional candidate Jessica Ehrlich spoke on a variety of subjects in our a conversation moderated by this reporter at [email protected] in St. Petersburg.

The event organizers say they invited Bill Young to attend, but he did not make an appearance.

As being a part of the event, I won't try to characterize the evening other than to give you direct quotes from the candidate on some of the questions yours truly posed.

On Congressman Young: "He's really sort of changed. We've seen him now being dismissive and demeaning to constituents, this is not the same person. And I think the real issue for voters is not who has been our Congressman for the past 42 years, but what is our future going to be, and who is going to be our next Congress woman."

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