This afternoon, Pinellas Congressman Bill Young's presumptive Democratic challenger this fall, Jessica Ehrlich, issued off a pres release calling on her opponent to apologize for his remarks to a constituent on the 4th of July.
Last Thursday CL posted the short video clip featuring St. Pete activist Pepe Kovanis asking Congressman Young about a proposal in congress that would raise the minimum wage up to $10 an hour. As you know by now, Young wasn't exactly Mr. Gregarious in his response to the earnest sounding question, telling Kovanis to "get a job."
The video was so good it spread to several progressive blogs later Thursday, prompting the Tampa Bay Times to call and ask Young what was going on with him (Young's office doesn't respond when we call). In Saturday's paper the Congressman told reporter Mark Puente:
"Maybe I was a little frustrated because of all this pushing and pulling because everybody was talking at once and yelling political stuff. If they had been a little more quiet then I would have not misunderstood."
Activists with the Florida Consumer Action Network have been targeting Young this summer, holding events targeting him. FCAN had activists at the 4th of July at an American Legion hall in Treasure Island.
Young told the Times that such actions only motivate him to keep on running, saying, ""It encourages me that people like me have to stay to keep this government from turning into a leftist movement."
In her release, Ehrlich said:
"Bill Young has clearly lost touch with what hard working people go through every day," said Jessica Ehrlich. "It's clear Young has become part of the problem in Washington: he's unwilling to help middle class families struggling to pay for gas, food, or medicine but he has no problem giving himself a pay raise, voting to slash Medicare, and protecting tax breaks for oil companies. Pinellas County deserves a Representative who understands the challenges facing our community and who will fight to grow our economy and attract the good-paying jobs we need."
It certainly makes sense for Ehrlich to seize on Young's erratic answer. A serious underdog in trying to become the first Democrat in four decades to stop the Indian Shores Republican from heading back to Washington D.C., Ehrlich included the tidbit that Young was named "Loser of the Week' in Times political editor Adam C. Smith's weekly Sunday column.
Earlier on Monday Pepe Kovanis issued out an email overnight writing that he was taken "aback" by Young's response, writing that "Even though though I've disagreed in the past with some of the Congressman's policies, I've always respected for him. I've even voted for him several times in the past, including last election. I expected better of him than to insult me for asking him a question in a respectful manner."
Kovanis is directing people to go to the website Sign.on and endorse his petition to have Young apologize to "all of us who do have jobs, but are struggling to get by."