Young's response - that Kovanis needed to "Get a job"- went around the world. Well, at least around the Internet. The encounter was filmed and posted by the Florida Consumer Action Network, and was then written about on a variety of lean-leaning blogs. It was a bad moment for the 81-year-old Pinellas County Representative, who appeared insensitive to a legitimate policy question.
It obviously made a mark on Young. A constituent of his sent us an email he received from the Congressman on Monday. It begins this way:
Legislation has been introduced to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.00 per hour, a 38 percent increase.
Given the fragile economy and an unemployment rate that has remained above 8 percent for 41 straight months, I am asking for your thoughts on the impact an increase in the federal minimum wage would have on your business at this current time.
I would also ask you two other questions I ask every business owner I see in Pinellas County:
1.What can Congress do to help encourage the expansion of your business?
2.What, if any, federal regulations or policies are impacting your ability to grow and create jobs?
You can respond to any or all of these questions by e-mailing me directly at Bill.Young@mail.house.gov. Please be sure to include your contact information. Thank you for sharing with me your thoughts and please call on me any time that I can be of assistance to you.
Although Young probably didn't care that most of the uncomplimentary commentary online came from liberal blogs, he couldn't have been pleased to read in his hometown newspaper that he was named Loser of the Week because of his comment.
Young is expected to easily win re-election to the GOP nomination for Congress in Florida's 13th District next month. He'll then take on Democratic attorney Jessica Ehrlich in the general election in the fall.
Ehrlich seized on Young's comment by demanding that he apologize, and sent out a subsequent email mentioning the incident against while making a request for campaign funds.