A well-known and favored Florida representative for the Tampa Bay area, C.W. Bill Young, who spent 43 years of his life in the U.S. House of Representatives, passed away last Friday.
This was not only a loss to his close family and friends, but also a loss to Congress.
In a time in which Congress is so strongly divided and in need of members who have the people’s best interests in mind, Congress lost one of its few members that spent much of his life doing what a congressman should – representing people.
Young’s life should be recognized and celebrated to serve as an example of how a congressman should act.
The Tampa Bay Times reported Young was displeased with the polarization in Washington and that Congress was different from what it used to be.
It’s very likely that his long-term service is what made him an effective congressman.
Congress has become increasingly bipartisan over the years. While he saw a change in congress over 40 years, he did not fall into the increasing polarization of Congress.
According to GovTrack’s analysis of bill sponsorship, Young was considered a moderate Republican follower based on an ideology and leadership score. This serves as proof that while he was Republican, he fell closer to the middle of the spectrum rather than completely opposed to Democrats.
Polarization is what has caused so many problems within the government. Because parties could not come to an agreement on the spending bill for government funding, it resulted in a 16-day shutdown. Even though the government has reopened, there has still been no agreement on the spending bill.
The fact that Young was able to recognize this polarization and disapproved of it is an example of how his goal as a congressman was more about making the right decisions instead of favoring with a particular party.
Had there been more Congress members like Young during the most recent spending bill controversy, Congress probably could have come to an agreement on a bill without costing the government $24 billion in a partial government shutdown.
ABC News reported that Democrat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Young was someone who approached solutions in a bipartisan way. This just shows how effective of a congressman he was. Rather than siding only with the Republican party, Young was known for his effective legislative actions.
Congress is known to have two types of members: those who acquire a lot of publicity but do little legislative work, often called a show horse, and those who get little publicity but do a lot of legislative work, often called a workhorse. While many Congress members are show horses, Young somehow managed to be both.
Young spent much of his career focusing on military spending in the House Appropriations Committee, according to the New York Times. He worked hard to make sure members of the military got what they deserved and he also made headlines in 2012 for advocating U.S. military forces to return to the U.S.
Ali Leist is a junior majoring in mass communications.