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Longest-serving Republican in Congress Dies

On October 18, 2013, U.S. Representative Bill Young of Florida died at the age of 82. He entered Congress in 1970. In 1995, he became the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s panel on defense in 1995. Over his career, he has been at the center of attention for many things.

Young has long been an advocate of the armed forces and played a key role in developing the defense budget of the United States. At first, Young was passed over for the leadership position. Some thought that he would be too bipartisan after having worked in the minority for a large part of his career in Congress.

However he was offered to head the defense subcommittee and used it as a spring board to become the head of the full Appropriations Committee four years later, a position he held until 2005.

He served in the National Guard from 1948 to 1957. Young never attended college by worked his way up as an insurance executive.

Young’s political career became at the age of 29. He was the only Republican in the Florida Senate. At the age of 39, he was elected to represent the 10th district in Florida.

Young has been in the middle of controversy several times over his ties to the military. However he always believed that he stood for the right thing through good times and bad ones.

He was investigated by the congressional ethics office in 2009. The office believed that he requested favors for companies that employed former staffers and the companies donated to his reelection campaigns. However, the case was eventually dropped and everyone who was investigated was exonerated.

One of the biggest controversies was during the State of the Union address in 2006. The police made his wife leave the chamber due to the fact that she had on a T-shirt that said, “Support the Troops – Defending Our Freedom.”

Young was not pleased about the treatment of his wide. He believed that this infringed on his wife’s right to freedom of speech. On the chamber floor the following day, he said, “Shame, shame”.

Shortly after, he was being scrutinized when reports came out about inadequate conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Young was familiar with the hospital, but never brought any problems to the attention of the public. He handled this issues privately with hospital staff.

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